All posts in category Energy Policy
Political Musings November 16, 2013: Obama uses his weekly address to focus on the economy and energy production
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 16, 2013
Full Text Obama Presidency November 14, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Economy in Cleveland, Ohio
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
Remarks by the President on the Economy in Cleveland, OH
Source: WH, 11-14-13
ArcelorMittal Cleveland Steel Factory
3:38 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Ohio! (Applause.) It is good to be back in Cleveland. The last time I was here was about a year ago, in the final days of the campaign. I know how much you miss hearing how I approve this message every night on your TV. (Laughter.) I will say it is nice to be here when the only real battle for Ohio is the Browns-Bengals game this Sunday. (Applause.) He’s got the Browns shirt right here, Browns cap. (Laughter.)
I want to thank Scotty for that terrific introduction. Give him a big round of applause. (Applause.) He is a natural. I want to thank your CEO, Lakshmi Mittal, for investing in America and the Cleveland area. We appreciate him. (Applause.) And I want to thank all of you for having me here today.
Along with me, there are a couple of people I just want to acknowledge. First of all, America’s Secretary of Energy, Ernie Moniz, is here. Right there. (Applause.) And Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is here. Give Marcy a big round of applause. (Applause.) Fighting for working people every day.
And earlier this afternoon I had a chance to see your mayor, Frank Jackson; your county executive, Ed FitzGerald. And even though they’re not here, I want to thank them for the great work they’re doing on behalf of working people throughout the region. (Applause.)
And then, finally, I want to thank Mark and Gary for showing me one of the biggest steel plants in America. And they told me that folks are proud to have been making steel right here for a century — 100 years — right here. (Applause.) And they explained that, today, the steel you make in Cleveland is some of the strongest you’ll find anywhere in the world. It’s one of the most productive plants in the world. Best workers in the world. (Applause.)
And what’s remarkable is, when you think about it, go back to where this plant was just a few years ago. The economy was in free fall, auto industry on the brink of collapse. And that meant demand for steel had dried up. The blast furnaces went quiet. About 1,200 steelworkers punched out for what might have been the last time. And that all came at the end of a decade when the middle class was already working harder and harder just to get by, and nearly one in three American manufacturing jobs had vanished — a lot of them going overseas. And that could have devastated this community for good.
But we rolled up our sleeves, we made some tough choices. We rescued and retooled the American auto industry; it saved more than a million jobs. We bet on American ingenuity and American workers. (Applause.) And assembly lines started humming again, and automakers started to make cars again. And just a few months after this plant shut down, your plant manager got the call: Fire those furnaces back up, get those workers back on the job. And over the last four years, you’ve made yourselves one of the most productive steel mills not just in America, but in the world. In the world. (Applause.)
So you retooled to make the stronger steel that goes into newer, better American cars and trucks. You created new partnerships with schools and community colleges to make sure that folks who work here have the high-tech skills they need for the high-tech jobs — because I was looking around this factory, and there’s a whole bunch of computer stuff going on.
One of your engineers — and I want to make sure I get Margaret’s name right here — Margaret Krolikowski. Did I get that right, Margaret? (Applause.) Where’s Margaret? Where is she? There is she is, back there. So I’m going to quote you — I’m going to quote you. Here’s what Margaret said: “When we came back, we wanted to make sure we were in a position where we never shut down again.” Never shut down again. And that means making sure that workers here are constantly upgrading their skills and investments being made in the state-of-the-art technology.
And it was interesting, when I was meeting a number of the folks who were giving me the tour — folks who have been here 30 years, 40 years — but obviously the plant has changed, and so during that period they’ve had to upgrade their skills. And that’s what’s happened. And the story of this plant is the story of America over the last five years. We haven’t just been recovering from a crisis. What we’ve been trying to do is rebuild a new foundation for growth and prosperity to protect ourselves from future crises. And because of the grit and resilience and optimism of the American people, we’re seeing comeback stories like yours all across America.
Over the last 44 months, our businesses have created 7.8 million new jobs. Last month, another 200,000 Americans went back to work. (Applause.) And a lot of those jobs are in manufacturing. So now we’ve got more work to do to get those engines of the economy churning even faster. But because we’ve been willing to do some hard things, not just kick the can down the road, factories are reopening their doors, businesses are hiring new workers, companies that were shipping jobs overseas, they’re starting to talk about bringing those jobs back to America. We’re starting to see that.
And let me give you an example, because we were talking about this — Mr. Mittal and others were talking about what’s different now. Take a look at what we’ve done with American energy. For years, folks have talked about reducing our dependence on foreign oil — but we didn’t really do it. And we were just importing more and more oil, sending more and more money overseas. Gas prices keep on going up and up and up. We finally decided we were going to do something about it.
So we invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil, double wind power, double solar power, produce more oil, produce more natural gas, and do it all in a way that is actually bringing down some of our pollution, making our entire economy more energy-efficient. Today, we generate more renewable energy than ever. We produce more natural gas than anybody in the world. Just yesterday, we learned that for the first time since 1995, the United States of America produces more of our own oil here at home than we buy from other countries. First time since 1995. (Applause.) And that’s a big deal. That’s what America has done these past five years.
And that is a huge competitive advantage for us. Part of the reason companies now want to move — we were just talking about it — this plant, if it’s located in Germany, energy costs are double, maybe triple; same in Japan. So this gives us a big edge. But this is also important: We reached the milestone not just because we’re producing more energy, but also we’re wasting less energy. And this plant is a good example of it. We set new fuel standards that double the distance our cars and trucks go on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade. That saves the average driver, everybody here, more than $8,000 at the pump over the life of a new car. You like that? (Applause.) We launched initiatives to put people to work upgrading our homes, and our businesses, and our factories so we’re wasting less energy. All that saves businesses money on their energy bills. Your plant is one of the hundreds to answer that call. And if you’re saving money on energy costs, that means you can invest in equipment, invest in workers, hire more people, produce more products.
And here’s another thing: Between more clean energy, less wasted energy, the carbon pollution that’s helping to warm the planet, that actually starts going down. And that’s good news for anybody who cares about leaving a planet to our kids that is as beautiful as the one we got from our parents and our grandparents. (Applause.) So it’s a win-win. Our economy keeps growing, creating new jobs, which means that strengthening our energy security and increasing energy efficiency doesn’t have to be a choice between the environment and the economy — we can do both.
So we’ve tackled the way we use energy. That’s making America more competitive in order to attract good jobs. We’ve also tackled our deficits. A lot of people have been concerned about deficits. Since I took office, we cut them in half. That makes America more attractive when it comes to business investment decisions.
And we’ve tackled a broken health care system. Obviously, we’re not done yet. (Applause.) Obviously, we’re not done yet. But over the last three years, health care costs have grown at the slowest pace on record. And this is a great place to work thanks to a great steelworkers union and cooperation between management and labor. (Applause.) But just keep in mind that if businesses’ health care costs are growing at about one-third the rate that they were a decade ago, that makes America a more affordable place to do business, and it also means that the investors here, if they’re putting less money into health care costs, they can put more money in terms of hiring more workers and making sure that they’re getting good pay.
So that’s what all these tough decisions are about: Reversing the forces that have hurt the middle class for a long, long time, and building an economy where anybody, if you work hard, you can get ahead. That’s what plants like this have always been about. It’s not that it’s easy work. But it means if you work hard, you’ve got a chance to buy a home, you’ve got a chance to retire, you’ve got a chance to send your kids to school, you have a chance to maybe take a little vacation once in a while. That’s what people strive for. And that’s what will make the 21st century an American century, just like the last century was.
But I didn’t run for President to go back to where we were. I want us to go forward. I want us to go towards the future. (Applause.) I want us to get us to where we need to be. I want to solve problems, not just put them off. I want to solve problems. And we’ve got to do more to create more good, middle-class jobs like the ones folks have here.
That means we’ve got to do everything we can to prepare our children and our workers for the competition that they’re going to face. We should be doing everything we can to help put some sort of advanced education within reach for more young people. Not everybody has got to go to a four-year college, but just looking at the equipment around here, you’ve got to have a little bit of advanced training. It may come through a community college or it may come through a technical school, but we’ve got to make sure you can get that education, your kids can get that education without going broke — without going broke, without going into debt. (Applause.) So we’re working on that.
Another thing we should be working on: Fixing a broken immigration system. (Applause.) When you think about this whole region, a lot of folks forget, but almost everybody who worked in that plant 100 years ago came from someplace else. And so we’ve got now a new generation of hopeful, striving immigrants; we’ve got to make sure that they come legally and that we do what we need to secure our borders, but we’ve also got to make sure that we’re providing them opportunity just like your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents received when they arrived at this plant. And that’s important. (Applause.) And, by the way, it will help our economy grow because then they’re paying taxes and helping to invest and build here in America.
We should do everything we can to revitalize American manufacturing. Manufacturing is — that’s the hub of our economy. When our manufacturing base is strong, the entire economy is strong. A lot of service jobs depend on servicing manufacturing jobs. And, typically, manufacturing jobs pay a little bit better. So that’s been a path, a ticket to the middle class. So when we make steel and cars, make them here in America, that helps. Like I said, the work may be hard but it gives you enough money to buy a home and raise a kid, retire and send your kids to school.
And those kinds of jobs also tell us something else. It’s not just how much you get in your paycheck, it’s also a sense of, “I’m making something and I’m helping to build this country.” It helps establish a sense of — that we’re invested in this country. (Applause.) It tells us what we’re worth as a community. One of your coworkers, Mike Longa — where’s Mike?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Back here.
THE PRESIDENT: Is he back here? That’s Mike right there. Mike grew up here. His mom and dad worked at this plant. This plant helped put Mike and four brothers and/or sisters through college. And once this plant started growing again, Mike got his chance to be a steelworker here, and provide for his own two young kids. So it’s a generational thing, and I want to keep that going.
In my State of the Union address, I talked about how we created America’s first manufacturing innovation institute right here in Ohio. Marcy Kaptur has been a big proponent of this, because she knows how important manufacturing is. I want to create more of them — places where businesses are working with universities and they’re partnering to figure out what are the new manufacturing techniques that keep us at the cutting edge so that China or Germany don’t get ahead of us in terms of the equipment that’s being invested. We want to be at the cutting edge, so what we’re producing is always the best steel, it’s always the best cars. But that requires research and investment.
And your Senator, Sherrod Brown, helped us to create that first manufacturing hub in Youngstown. And he’s now leading a bipartisan effort — (applause) — he’s now leading a bipartisan effort with Senator Blunt of Missouri to move more of these manufacturing innovation hubs all across the country. And Congress should pass Sherrod’s bill. We should be doing everything we can to guarantee the next revolution in manufacturing happens right here in Cuyahoga, happens right here in Ohio, happens right here in America. (Applause.)
And let me make one last point. We have to do everything we can to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable health care, period. (Applause.) You may have read we had some problems last month with websites. I’m not happy about that. And then I had a press conference today and I said, you know what, we fumbled the ball in terms of the rollout.
But we always knew this was going to be hard. There’s a reason why folks had tried to do it for 100 years and hadn’t done it. And it’s complicated. There are a lot of players involved. The status quo is entrenched. And so, yes, there’s no question the rollout on the Affordable Care Act was much tougher than we expected. But I want everybody here to understand, I am going to see this through. (Applause.) I want millions of Americans to make sure that they’re not going broke when they get sick and they can go to a doctor when their kids get sick. And we’re not apologizing for that. We are going to get this done. (Applause.)
So we’re going to get the website working the way it’s supposed to. The plans are already out there that are affordable and people can get tax credits. We’re going to help folks whose old plans have been canceled by the insurers — many of them weren’t very good — and we’re going to make sure that they can get newer, better options.
But we’re not going to go back to the old system, because the old system was broken. And every year, thousands of Americans would get dropped from coverage or denied their medical history or exposed to financial ruin. You guys are lucky that you work at a company with a strong union that gives you good health benefits. (Applause.) But you know friends and family members who don’t have it, and you know what it’s like when they get sick. You know how scary it is for them when they get sick. Or some of them have health insurance — they think they do — and they get sick, and suddenly the insurance company says, oh, I’m sorry, you owe $50,000. That’s not covered. Or they jack up your premium so you can’t afford it because you had some sort of preexisting condition. That happens every day.
So we’re not going to let that happen. We’re not going to let folks who pay their premiums on time get jerked around. And we’re not going to walk away from the 40 million Americans without health insurance. (Applause.) We are not going to gut this law. We will fix what needs to be fixed, but we’re going to make the Affordable Care Act work. And those who say they’re opposed to it and can’t offer a solution, we’ll push back. (Applause.)
I got to give your Governor a little bit of credit. John Kasich, along with a lot of state legislators who are here today, they expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. And think about that. Just that one step means as many as 275,000 Ohioans are going to have health insurance. And it doesn’t depend on a website. That’s already happening because of the Affordable Care Act. (Applause.)
And I think it’s fair to say that the Governor didn’t do it because he just loves me so much. (Laughter.) We don’t agree on much, but he saw, well, this makes sense — why wouldn’t we do this? Why wouldn’t we make sure that hundreds of thousands of people right here in Ohio have some security? It was the right thing to do. And, by the way, if every Republican governor did what Kasich did here rather than play politics about it, you’d have another 5.4 million Americans who could get access to health care next year, regardless of what happens with the website. That’s their decision not to do it. And it’s the wrong decision. They’ve got to go ahead and sign folks up.
So the bottom line is sometimes we just have to set aside the politics and focus on what’s good for people. What’s good to grow our middle class? What’s going to help keep plans like this growing? What’s going to make sure we’re putting more people back to work? What’s going to really make a difference in terms of our kids getting a great education?
And, look, we’ve done it before. That’s the good news. The good news is that America is — look, we make mistakes. We have our differences. Our politics get screwed up sometimes. Websites don’t work sometimes. (Laughter.) But we just keep going. We didn’t become the greatest nation on Earth by accident. We did it because we did what it took to make sure our families could succeed, make sure our businesses could succeed, make sure our communities could succeed. And if you don’t believe me, listen to one of your coworkers.
So Sherrod Brown, earlier this year, brought a special guest along with him to the State of the Union address — one of your coworkers, Cookie Hall. Where’s Cookie? Is Cookie here?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No, she’s back at the hall.
THE PRESIDENT: She’s back at the hall working. (Laughter.) Well, let me say something nice about her behind her back. (Laughter.) So Cookie said, one of — let me make sure I can find this. She said — that night she said, “If I get a chance to meet President Obama, I’ll tell him my greatest pride is in our 2012 production record at Cleveland Works. We’re the most productive steelworkers in the world.” (Applause.) More than a ton of steel produced for every single one of the workers at this plant. That’s pretty good. That’s pretty good. (Applause.)
So all of you are an example of what we do when we put our minds to it. This plant was closed for a while. We go through hard times. And a lot of our friends are still going through hard times. But when we work at it, we know we can get to a better place, and we can restore some security to a middle class that was forged in plants just like this one, and keep giving ladders of opportunity for folks who were willing to work hard to get into the middle class. That’s what I’m about. That’s what this plant is about. I’m proud to be with you.
And as long as I have the honor of being your President, I’m going to be waking up every single day thinking about how I can keep on helping folks like the ones who work in this plant. (Applause.)
God bless you. Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you.
END 4:02 P.M. EST
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 14, 2013
Political Musings August 5, 2013: Canadian PM Stephen Harper defends XL Keystone pipeline as job creator countering President Obama’s statement
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
OP-EDS & ARTICLES
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 5, 2013
Full Text Political Headlines June 1, 2013: GOP Weekly Address: Alaska Governor Sean Parnell Talks Energy, Keystone Pipeline
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
GOP Address: Alaska Governor Talks Energy, Keystone Pipeline
Source: ABC News Radio, 6-1-13
Hello, I’m Sean Parnell, governor of the great state of Alaska.
If you’ve spent much time watching the dysfunction and gridlock in Washington, D.C., you may have lost faith.
And yet, across the country, Republican governors have another story: We are balancing budgets, reducing regulations, cutting taxes, and growing our economies, all the while working across the aisle.
Chief Executive Magazine recently released its annual survey of the best states for business. The result? The top ten are all managed by Republican governors.
You see, when states encourage and grow economic opportunity, despite the federal quagmire of damaging regulations, our entire nation benefits.
Today I want to focus on energy. I want to focus on what local, state and federal governments can do to ensure safe, reliable and affordable access to it.
First, we need to address some basic, but critical questions:
Is it better for the U.S. to import energy—or to export it?
Is it a good public policy for Americans to be employed to produce our energy—or simply consume it?
Can and should America be energy independent?
Most Americans agree that energy independence is good for America, for both national security and our balance of trade. But we need our President to allow our nation to grow the energy economy for the benefit of our families. The Republican House has acted; it’s time for the Democratic controlled Senate to do the same.
Let me give you some examples.
Alaska—one of the world’s great hydrocarbon basins—we’re doing our part to secure America’s energy future.
In our most recent 90-day legislative session, the most productive in a generation, Alaskans worked together across party lines to make Alaska more competitive in a global environment. We reformed our state oil taxes, we modernized our state’s permitting system—all with the goal of creating more opportunities for our people from Alaska’s vast resources.
In our state, the Alaska Energy Comeback has begun, a comeback that will lead to a brighter economic future for the entire U.S. economy, but we didn’t just stop with state lands. We know our nation’s federal lands contain riches that should be unlocked for the benefit of all Americans.
Too often, however, the federal government is less than nimble about permitting projects on its own lands. Permitting delays by the Obama administration means delayed job creation for Americans.
So just last week I offered our state’s expertise and our financial commitment to evaluate the energy and economic potential from oil-rich federal lands.
Alaska is offering to pay a part of exploration of federal lands in Alaska for energy potential. Now, Alaska developed a comprehensive Oil and Gas Exploration Proposal for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, otherwise known as ANWR. It details a seven-year exploration plan to complete studies and exploration on this federal land.
And for this effort, I’m prepared to seek up to $50 million from the Alaska Legislature to help the federal government pay for developing this valuable information from its own land.
Now, we’ve had this ANWR debate—but the federal government does not have current data on its true energy potential. What we propose is a fact-finding mission on federal lands with the State of Alaska covering up to one-third of the cost, so Americans have the facts on ANWR, and can understand what’s at stake for the country.
This is just one example of how Republican governors are trailblazing the path to the future. The President and his allies in Congress have many such examples to emulate.
Recently the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, along with 19 Democrats, passed legislation to approve the Keystone Pipeline, which will create up to 20,000 domestic jobs and transport oil and gas from Canada to the southern U.S. for refining. Now, it’s time for the Democratic-led U.S. Senate to pass this bill—or at least allow it an up or down vote.
This common sense energy infrastructure project is truly shovel-ready, and yet the White House threatened it with a veto. The project could already be well underway, but the State Department has unnecessarily delayed the project for years.
And then there’s offshore energy—and there’s a lot of it out there. Coastal governors have gathered together as a coalition to unite behind responsibly unlocking offshore energy development. Each of the eight governors in our coastal states coalition is frustrated by the lack of coordination, by the endless delays and politically motivated inaction by federal agencies.
While the federal government wastes precious taxpayer dollars on green energy boondoggles that have collapsed in failure and bankruptcy, many with no benefit to America, access to federal lands has been consistently blocked by this administration. Offshore drilling has been stalled. Permitting for energy that can restore jobs across America is delayed. That’s not the ‘all of the above’ energy strategy that the President promised.
You may have heard that, under the Obama administration, energy production is up. Well, it’s important to note this is only because it is increasing on private lands, while production on federal lands, which belong to you, the taxpayer, has dropped dramatically.
Alaska and many of the other energy states are focused on responsible and safe oil and gas development.
And as with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, the opportunity is there: If Washington, D.C. would start working with states to unlock access to federal lands, an economic boom would be felt across this nation, lifting wages, and creating hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and improving our national security through energy independence.
Alaska and many of America’s governors are leading our country’s energy revolution. America’s resources belong to Americans. They should be unlocked for our benefit and not locked up by Washington.
Thanks for listening, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on June 1, 2013
Political Headlines March 15, 2013: President Barack Obama Warns of Sequester Impact on Energy Research in Speech Calling for Additional Energy Spending
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
Obama Warns of Sequester Impact on Energy Research
Source: ABC News Radio, 3-15-13
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
While calling for $2 billion in additional energy research spending Friday, President Obama warned of how the sequester cuts could cause the United States to fall behind in research and development in the energy sector during an event at a laboratory just outside of Chicago….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 15, 2013
Full Text Obama Presidency March 15, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on American Energy & Increasing Research Spending at Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
Remarks by the President on American Energy — Lemont, Illinois
Source: WH, 3-15-13
Argonne National Laboratory
1:31 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Hello, Illinois! Hello! It is good to be home! (Applause.)
Well, let me begin by thanking Ann for the great introduction, the great work she’s doing, the leadership she’s showing with her team on so many different, amazing technological breakthroughs. I want to thank Dr. Isaacs and Dr. Crabtree for giving me a great tour of your facilities.
It’s not every day that I get to walk into a thermal test chamber. (Laughter.) I told my girls that I was going to go into a thermal test chamber and they were pretty excited. I told them I’d come out looking like the Hulk. (Laughter.) They didn’t believe that.
I want to thank my friend and your friend — a truly great U.S. Senator, Senator Dick Durbin — huge supporter of Argonne. (Applause.) An outstanding member of Congress who actually could explain some of the stuff that’s going on here — Bill Foster is here. (Applause.) Congressman Bobby Rush, a big supporter of Argonne — glad he’s here. (Applause.) We’ve got a number of state and local officials with us, including your Mayor, Brian Reaves. (Applause.)
And I could not come to Argonne without bringing my own Nobel Prize-winning scientist, someone who has served our country so well over the past four years — our Energy Secretary, Dr. Steven Chu. (Applause.)
Now, I’m here today to talk about what should be our top priority as a nation, and that’s reigniting the true engine of America’s economic growth — a rising, thriving middle class and an economy built on innovation. In my State of the Union address, I said our most important task was to drive that economic growth, and I meant it. And every day, we should be asking ourselves three questions: How do we make America a magnet for good jobs? How do we equip our people with the skills and training to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?
Those of you who have chairs — I wasn’t sure everybody had chairs there. (Laughter.) Please feel free to sit down — I’m sorry. Everybody was standing and I thought Argonne — one of the effects of the sequester, you had to — (laughter) — get rid of chairs. (Applause.) That’s good, I’m glad we’ve got some chairs.
So I chose Argonne National Lab because right now, few areas hold more promise for creating good jobs and growing our economy than how we use American energy.
After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future. We produce more oil than we have in 15 years. We import less oil than we have in 20 years. We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy that we generate from sources like wind and solar — with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We’re producing more natural gas than we ever have before — with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We supported the first new nuclear power plant in America since the 1970s. And we’re sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years.
So we’re making real progress across the board. And it’s possible, in part, because of labs like this and outstanding scientists like so many of you, entrepreneurs, innovators — all of you who are working together to take your discoveries and turn them into a business.
So think about this: Just a few years ago, the American auto industry was flat-lining. Today, thanks in part to discoveries made right here at Argonne, some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, pretty spiffy cars in the world are once again designed, engineered and built here in the United States.
And that’s why we have to keep investing in scientific research. It’s why we have to maintain our edge — because the work you’re doing today will end up in the products that we make and sell tomorrow. You’re helping to secure our energy future. And if we do it well, then that’s going to help us avoid some of the perils of climate change and leave a healthier planet for our kids. But to do it, we’ve got to make sure that we’re making the right choices in Washington.
Just the other day, Dr. Isaacs and directors of two of our other national laboratories wrote about the effects of the so-called sequester — these across-the-board budget cuts put in place two weeks ago — and specifically the effects it will have on America’s scientific research. And one of the reasons I was opposed to these cuts is because they don’t distinguish between wasteful programs and vital investments. They don’t trim the fat; they cut into muscle and into bone — like research and development being done right here that not only gives a great place for young researchers to come and ply their trade, but also ends up creating all kinds of spinoffs that create good jobs and good wages.
So Dr. Isaacs said these cuts will force him to stop any new project that’s coming down the line. And I’m quoting him now — he says, “This sudden halt on new starts will freeze American science in place while the rest of the world races forward, and it will knock a generation of young scientists off their stride, ultimately costing billions of dollars in missed future opportunities.” I mean, essentially because of this sequester, we’re looking at two years where we don’t start new research. And at a time when every month you’ve got to replace your smartphone because something new has come up, imagine what that means when China and Germany and Japan are all continuing to plump up their basic research, and we’re just sitting there doing nothing.
We can’t afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races forward. We have to seize these opportunities. I want the next great job-creating breakthroughs — whether it’s in energy or nanotechnology or bioengineering — I want those breakthroughs to be right here in the United States of America, creating American jobs and maintaining our technological lead. (Applause.)
So I just want to be clear — these cuts will harm, not help, our economy. They aren’t the smart way to cut our deficits. And that’s why I’m reaching out to Republicans and Democrats to come together around a balanced approach, a smart, phased-in approach to deficit reduction that includes smart spending cuts and entitlement reforms and new revenue, and that won’t hurt our middle class or slow economic growth. And if we do that, then we can move beyond governing from crisis to crisis to crisis, and we keep our focus on policies that actually create jobs and grow our economy, and move forward to face all of the other challenges we face, from fixing our broken immigration system to educating our kids to keeping them safe from gun violence.
And few pieces of business are more important for us than getting our energy future right. So here at Argonne, and other labs around the country, scientists are working on getting us where we need to get 10 years from now, 20 years from now. Today, what most Americans feel first when it comes to energy prices — or energy issues are prices that they pay at the pump. And over the past few weeks, we saw — we went through another spike in gas prices. And people are nodding here. They weren’t happy about it. The problem is this happens every year. It happened last year, the year before that. And it’s a serious blow to family budgets. It feels like you’re getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket. And every time it happens, politicians — they dust off their three-point plans for $2 gas, but nothing happens and then we go through the same cycle again.
But here’s the thing: Over the past four years, we haven’t just talked about it, we’ve actually started doing something about it. We’ve worked with the auto companies to put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in our history. And what that means is, by the middle of the next decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. And the standards that we set are part of what’s driving some of the amazing scientists and engineers who are working here at Argonne Labs. We’ve set some achievable but ambitious goals. So in the middle of the next decade, we expect that you’ll fill up half as often, which means you spend half as much. And over the life of a new car, the average family will save more than $8,000 at the pump. That’s worth applauding. That’s big news. (Applause.)
In fact, a new report issued today shows that America is becoming a global leader in advanced vehicles. You walk into any dealership today, and you’ll see twice as many hybrids to choose from as there were five years ago. You’ll see seven times as many cars that can go 40 miles a gallon or more. And as costs go down, sales are going up.
Last year, General Motors sold more hybrid vehicles than ever before. Ford is selling some of the most fuel-efficient cars so quickly that dealers are having a tough time keeping up with the demand. So by investing in our energy security, we’re helping our businesses succeed and we’re creating good middle-class jobs right here in America.
So we’re making progress, but the only way to really break this cycle of spiking gas prices, the only way to break that cycle for good is to shift our cars entirely — our cars and trucks — off oil. That’s why, in my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal.
Now, I’d like to take credit for this idea because it’s a good idea, but I can’t. Basically, my proposal builds off a proposal that was put forward by a non-partisan coalition that includes retired generals and admirals and leading CEOs. And these leaders came together around a simple idea — much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So what they’ve proposed is let’s take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public so we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit.
We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; support scientists that are developing cheaper batteries that can go farther on a single charge; support scientists and engineers that are devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy — like advanced biofuels and natural gas — so drivers can one day go coast to coast without using a drop of oil.
And the reason so many different people from the private sector, the public sector, our military support this idea is because it’s not just about saving money; it’s also about saving the environment, but it’s also about our national security. For military officials — like General Paul Kelley, a former Commandant of the Marine Corps — this is about national security. Our reliance on oil makes us way too dependent on other parts of the world, many of which are very volatile. For business leaders — like Fred Smith, the CEO of FedEx — this is about economic security, because when fuel prices shoot up, it’s harder to plan investments, expand operations, create new jobs.
So these leaders all say we need to fix this. This is not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea. This is just a smart idea. And we should be taking their advice. Let’s set up an Energy Security Trust that helps us free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas once and for all. (Applause.) Let’s do that. We can do it. We’ve done it before. We innovated here at Argonne.
And in the meantime, we’ll keep moving on the all-of-the-above energy strategy that we’ve been working on for the last couple years, where we’re producing more oil and gas here at home but we’re also producing more biofuels, we’re also producing more fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power; more wind power. We’re working to make sure that here in America we’re building cars and homes and businesses that waste less energy.
We can do this. The nature of America’s miraculous rise has been our drive, our restless spirit, our willingness to reach out to new horizons, our willingness to take risks, our willingness to innovate. We are not satisfied just because things — this is how things have been. We’re going to try something that maybe we just imagine now, but if we work at it, we’ll achieve it. That’s the nature of America. That’s what Argonne National Lab is about. That’s what this facility is about. (Applause.)
Two decades ago, scientists at Argonne, led by Mike Thackeray, who’s here today — where is Mike? There he is right here. (Applause.) Mike started work on a rechargeable lithium battery for cars. And some folks at the time said the idea wasn’t worth the effort. They said that even if you had the technology, the car would cost too much, it wouldn’t go far enough.
But Mike and his team knew better. They knew you could do better. And America, our government, our federal government made it a priority, and we funded those efforts. And Mike went to work. And when others gave up, the team kept on at it. And when development hit a snag, the team found solutions. And a few years ago, all of this hard work paid off, and scientists here at Argonne helped create a lithium ion battery that costs less, lasts longer than any that had come before.
So what was just an idea two decades ago is now rolling off assembly lines in cutting-edge fuel efficient cars that you can plug in at night. Well, imagine all the ideas right now with all of these young scientists and engineers that 20 years ago — or 20 years from now will be offering solutions to our problems that we can’t even comprehend — as long as we’re still funding these young scientists and engineers; as long as the pipeline for research is maintained; as long as we recognize there are some things we do together as a country because individually we can’t do it — and, by the way, the private sector on its own will not invest in this research because it’s too expensive. It’s too risky. They can’t afford it in terms of their bottom lines.
So we’ve got to support it. And we’ll all benefit from it, and our kids will benefit from it, and our grandkids will benefit from it. That’s who we are. That’s been the American story.
We don’t stand still, we look forward. We invent. We build. We turn new ideas into new industries. We change the way we can live our lives here at home and around the world. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. That’s how we invented the Internet.
When somebody tells us we can’t, we say, yes we can. And I’m telling all of you, I am absolutely confident that America is poised to succeed in the same way as long as we don’t lose that spirit of innovation and recognize that we can only do it together. And I’m going to work as hard as I can every single day to make sure that we do.
So congratulations, Argonne. (Applause.) Let’s keep it up. Thank you. God bless you. God bless America.
1:50 P.M. CDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 15, 2013
Full Text Obama Presidency February 15, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Strengthening the Economy For The Middle Class & Gun Violence at Hyde Park Career Academy Chicago, Illinois
Giving Every Child a Chance in Life
Source: WH, 2-15-13
President Barack Obama delivers remarks to discuss proposals unveiled in the State of the Union Address that focus on strengthening the economy for the middle class and those striving to get there, at Hyde Park Academy, Chicago, Ill., Feb. 15, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama was in Chicago on Friday to talk about the importance of making sure every child in America has every chance in life to succeed. Speaking at the Hyde Park Career Academy, which is less than a mile from the Obama’s home in that city, the President discussed the recent death of Hadiyah Pendleton, a Chicago teenager who was shot just days after attending the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC.
Hadiyah’s parents were guests of First Lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address on Tuesday, where President Obama discussed the need to prevent this kind of senseless violence and protect American children. But the important goal of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is not enough to ensure a bright future for all of our children, and the President also laid out a plan to rebuild ladders of opportunity for every American who is willing to work hard and climb them. This includes making sure every child in America has access to high-quality pre-K, and raising the minimum wage so that no family that works hard and relies on a minimum wage is living in poverty. But creating a path into the middle class also means transforming high-poverty communities into places of opportunity that can attract private investment, improve education, and create jobs, and President Obama talked about his plan to make that happen:
And that’s why on Tuesday I announced — and that’s part of what I want to focus on here in Chicago and across the country — is my intention to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit communities in America to get them back in the game — get them back in the game.
First, we’ll work with local leaders to cut through red tape and improve things like public safety and education and housing. And we’ll bring all the resources to bear in a coordinated fashion so that we can get that tipping point where suddenly a community starts feeling like things are changing and we can come back.
Second of all, if you’re willing to play a role in a child’s education, then we’ll help you reform your schools. We want to seed more and more partnerships of the kind that Rahm is trying to set up.
Third, we’re going to help bring jobs and growth to hard-hit neighborhoods by giving tax breaks to business owners who invest and hire in those neighborhoods.
Fourth, and specific to the issue of violence — because it’s very hard to develop economically if people don’t feel safe. If they don’t feel like they can walk down the street and shop at a store without getting hit over head or worse, then commerce dries up, businesses don’t want to locate, families move out, you get into the wrong cycle. So we’re going to target neighborhoods struggling to deal with violent crime and help them reduce that violence in ways that have been proven to work. And I know this is a priority of your Mayor’s; it’s going to be a priority of mine.
And finally, we’re going to keep working in communities all across the country, including here in Chicago, to replace run-down public housing that doesn’t offer much hope or safety with new, healthy homes for low- and moderate-income families.
Learn more about President Obama’s plan for a strong middle class and a strong America:
- Read the transcript of his 2013 State of the Union address
- What you need to know about the plan to ensure hard work leads to a decent living
- What you need to know about the plan to provide high-quality early education for all children
- What you need to know about the plan to revitalize American manufacturing
Remarks By The President On Strengthening The Economy For The Middle Class
Hyde Park Career Academy Chicago, Illinois
3:31 P.M. CST
THE PRESIDENT: Hey, Chicago! (Applause.) Hello, Chicago! Hello, everybody. Hello, Hyde Park! (Applause.) It is good to be home! It is good to be home. Everybody have a seat. You all relax. It’s just me. You all know me. It is good to be back home.
A couple of people I want to acknowledge — first of all, I want to thank your Mayor, my great friend, Rahm Emanuel for his outstanding leadership of the city and his kind introduction. (Applause.) I want to thank everybody here at Hyde Park Academy for welcoming me here today. (Applause.)
I want to acknowledge your principal and your assistant principal — although, they really make me feel old, because when I saw them — (laughter) — where are they? Where are they? Stand up. Stand up. (Applause.) They are doing outstanding work. We’re very, very proud them. But you do make me feel old. Sit down. (Laughter.)
A couple other people I want to acknowledge — Governor Pat Quinn is here doing great work down in Springfield. (Applause.) My great friend and senior Senator Dick Durbin is in the house. (Applause.) Congressman Bobby Rush is here. (Applause.) We’re in his district. Attorney General and former seatmate of mine when I was in the state senate, Lisa Madigan. (Applause.) County Board President — used to be my alderwoman — Tony Preckwinkle in the house. (Applause.)
And I’ve got — I see a lot of reverend clergy here, but I’m not going to mention them, because if I miss one I’m in trouble. (Laughter.) They’re all friends of mine. They’ve been knowing me.
Some people may not know this, but obviously, this is my old neighborhood. I used to teach right around the corner. This is where Michelle and I met, where we fell in love –
AUDIENCE: Aww –
THE PRESIDENT: This is where we raised our daughters, in a house just about a mile away from here — less than a mile. And that’s really what I’ve come here to talk about today — raising our kids.
AUDIENCE: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you, too. (Applause.) I love you, too.
I’m here to make sure that we talk about and then work towards giving every child every chance in life; building stronger communities and new ladders of opportunity that they can climb into the middle class and beyond; and, most importantly, keeping them safe from harm.
Michelle was born and raised here — a proud daughter of the South Side. (Applause.) Last weekend, she came home, but it was to attend the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton. And Hadiya’s parents, by the way, are here — and I want to just acknowledge them. They are just wonderful, wonderful people. (Applause.)
And as you know, this week, in my State of the Union, I talked about Hadiya on Tuesday night and the fact that unfortunately what happened to Hadiya is not unique. It’s not unique to Chicago. It’s not unique to this country. Too many of our children are being taken away from us.
Two months ago, America mourned 26 innocent first-graders and their educators in Newtown. And today, I had the high honor of giving the highest civilian award I can give to the parent — or the families of the educators who had been killed in Newtown. And there was something profound and uniquely heartbreaking and tragic, obviously, about a group of 6-year-olds being killed. But last year, there were 443 murders with a firearm on the streets of this city, and 65 of those victims were 18 and under. So that’s the equivalent of a Newtown every four months.
And that’s precisely why the overwhelming majority of Americans are asking for some common-sense proposals to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. And as I said on Tuesday night, I recognize not everybody agrees with every issue. There are regional differences. The experience of gun ownership is different in urban areas than it is in rural areas, different from upstate and downstate Illinois. But these proposals deserve a vote in Congress. They deserve a vote. (Applause.) They deserve a vote. And I want to thank those members of Congress who are working together in a serious way to try to address this issue.
But I’ve also said no law or set of laws can prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. When a child opens fire on another child, there’s a hole in that child’s heart that government can’t fill — only community and parents and teachers and clergy can fill that hole. In too many neighborhoods today — whether here in Chicago or the farthest reaches of rural America — it can feel like for a lot of young people the future only extends to the next street corner or the outskirts of town; that no matter how much you work or how hard you try, your destiny was determined the moment you were born. There are entire neighborhoods where young people, they don’t see an example of somebody succeeding. And for a lot of young boys and young men, in particular, they don’t see an example of fathers or grandfathers, uncles, who are in a position to support families and be held up and respected.
And so that means that this is not just a gun issue. It’s also an issue of the kinds of communities that we’re building. And for that, we all share a responsibility, as citizens, to fix it. We all share a responsibility to move this country closer to our founding vision that no matter who you are, or where you come from, here in America, you can decide your own destiny. You can succeed if you work hard and fulfill your responsibilities. (Applause.)
Now, that means we’ve got to grow our economy and create more good jobs. It means we’ve got to equip every American with the skills and the training to fill those jobs. And it means we’ve got to rebuild ladders of opportunity for everybody willing to climb them.
Now, that starts at home. There’s no more important ingredient for success, nothing that would be more important for us reducing violence than strong, stable families — which means we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood. (Applause.) Don’t get me wrong — as the son of a single mom, who gave everything she had to raise me with the help of my grandparents, I turned out okay. (Applause and laughter.) But — no, no, but I think it’s — so we’ve got single moms out here, they’re heroic in what they’re doing and we are so proud of them. (Applause.) But at the same time, I wish I had had a father who was around and involved. Loving, supportive parents — and, by the way, that’s all kinds of parents — that includes foster parents, and that includes grandparents, and extended families; it includes gay or straight parents. (Applause.)
Those parents supporting kids — that’s the single most important thing. Unconditional love for your child — that makes a difference. If a child grows up with parents who have work, and have some education, and can be role models, and can teach integrity and responsibility, and discipline and delayed gratification — all those things give a child the kind of foundation that allows them to say, my future, I can make it what I want. And we’ve got to make sure that every child has that, and in some cases, we may have to fill the gap and the void if children don’t have that.
So we should encourage marriage by removing the financial disincentives for couples who love one another but may find it financially disadvantageous if they get married. We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children. (Applause.) And my administration will continue to work with the faith community and the private sector this year on a campaign to encourage strong parenting and fatherhood. Because what makes you a man is not the ability to make a child, it’s the courage to raise one. (Applause.)
We also know, though, that there is no surer path to success in the middle class than a good education. And what we now know is that that has to begin in the earliest years. Study after study shows that the earlier a child starts learning, the more likely they are to succeed — the more likely they are to do well at Hyde Park Academy; the more likely they are to graduate; the more likely they are to get a good job; the more likely they are to form stable families and then be able to raise children themselves who get off to a good start.
Chicago already has a competition, thanks to what the Mayor is doing, that rewards the best preschools in the city — so Rahm has already prioritized this. But what I’ve also done is say, let’s give every child across America access to high-quality, public preschool. Every child, not just some. (Applause.) Every dollar we put into early childhood education can save $7 down the road by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, reducing violent crime, reducing the welfare rolls, making sure that folks who have work, now they’re paying taxes. All this stuff pays back huge dividends if we make the investment. So let’s make this happen. Let’s make sure every child has the chance they deserve. (Applause.)
As kids go through school, we’ll recruit new math and science teachers to make sure that they’ve got the skills that the future demands. We’ll help more young people in low-income neighborhoods get summer jobs. We’ll redesign our high schools and encourage our kids to stay in high school, so that the diploma they get leads directly to a good job once they graduate. (Applause.)
Right here in Chicago, five new high schools have partnered with companies and community colleges to prepare our kids with the skills that businesses are looking for right now. And your College to Careers program helps community college students get access to the same kinds of real-world experiences. So we know what works. Let’s just do it in more places. Let’s reach more young people. Let’s give more kids a chance.
So we know how important families are. We know how important education is. We recognize that government alone can’t solve these problems of violence and poverty, that everybody has to be involved. But we also have to remember that the broader economic environment of communities is critical as well. For example, we need to make sure that folks who are working now, often in the hardest jobs, see their work rewarded with wages that allow them to raise a family without falling into poverty. (Applause.)
Today, a family with two kids that works hard and relies on a minimum wage salary still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong, and we should fix it. We should reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. And that’s why we should raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour and make it a wage you can live on. (Applause.)
And even though some cities have bounced back pretty quickly from the recession, we know that there are communities and neighborhoods within cities or in small towns that haven’t bounced back. Cities like Chicago are ringed with former factory towns that never came back all the way from plants packing up; there are pockets of poverty where young adults are still looking for their first job.
And that’s why on Tuesday I announced — and that’s part of what I want to focus on here in Chicago and across the country — is my intention to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit communities in America to get them back in the game — get them back in the game. (Applause.)
First, we’ll work with local leaders to cut through red tape and improve things like public safety and education and housing. And we’ll bring all the resources to bear in a coordinated fashion so that we can get that tipping point where suddenly a community starts feeling like things are changing and we can come back.
Second of all, if you’re willing to play a role in a child’s education, then we’ll help you reform your schools. We want to seed more and more partnerships of the kind that Rahm is trying to set up.
Third, we’re going to help bring jobs and growth to hard-hit neighborhoods by giving tax breaks to business owners who invest and hire in those neighborhoods. (Applause.)
Fourth, and specific to the issue of violence — because it’s very hard to develop economically if people don’t feel safe. If they don’t feel like they can walk down the street and shop at a store without getting hit over head or worse, then commerce dries up, businesses don’t want to locate, families move out, you get into the wrong cycle. So we’re going to target neighborhoods struggling to deal with violent crime and help them reduce that violence in ways that have been proven to work. And I know this is a priority of your Mayor’s; it’s going to be a priority of mine. (Applause.)
And finally, we’re going to keep working in communities all across the country, including here in Chicago, to replace run-down public housing that doesn’t offer much hope or safety with new, healthy homes for low- and moderate-income families. (Applause.)
And here in Woodlawn, you’ve seen some of the progress that we can make when we come together to rebuild our neighborhoods, and attract new businesses, and improve our schools. Woodlawn is not all the way where it needs to be, but thanks to wonderful institutions like Apostolic Church, we’ve made great progress. (Applause.)
So we want to help more communities follow your example. And let’s go even farther by offering incentives to companies that hire unemployed Americans who have got what it takes to fill a job opening, but they may have been out of work so long that nobody is willing to give them a chance right now. Let’s put our people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in need of repair. Young people can get experience — apprenticeships, learn a trade. And we’re removing blight from our community. (Applause.)
If we gather together what works, we can extend more ladders of opportunity for anybody who’s working to build a strong, middle-class life for themselves. Because in America, your destiny shouldn’t be determined by where you live, where you were born. It should be determined by how big you’re willing to dream, how much effort and sweat and tears you’re willing to put in to realizing that dream.
When I first moved to Chicago — before any of the students in this room were born — (laughter) — and a whole lot of people who are in the audience remember me from those days, I lived in a community on the South Side right up the block, but I also worked further south where communities had been devastated by some of the steel plants closing. And my job was to work with churches and laypeople and local leaders to rebuild neighborhoods, and improve schools, and help young people who felt like they had nowhere to turn.
And those of you who worked with me, Reverend Love, you remember, it wasn’t easy. Progress didn’t come quickly. Sometimes I got so discouraged I thought about just giving up. But what kept me going was the belief that with enough determination and effort and persistence and perseverance, change is always possible; that we may not be able to help everybody, but if we help a few then that propels progress forward. We may not be able to save every child from gun violence, but if we save a few, that starts changing the atmosphere in our communities. (Applause.) We may not be able to get everybody a job right away, but if we get a few folks a job, then everybody starts feeling a little more hopeful and a little more encouraged. (Applause.) Neighborhood by neighborhood, one block by one block, one family at a time.
Now, this is what I had a chance to talk about when I met with some young men from Hyde Park Academy who were participating in this B.A.M. program. Where are the guys I talked to? Stand up you all, so we can all see you guys. (Applause.) So these are some — these are all some exceptional young men, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. And the reason I’m proud of them is because a lot of them have had some issues. That’s part of the reason why you guys are in the program. (Laughter.)
But what I explained to them was I had issues too when I was their age. I just had an environment that was a little more forgiving. So when I screwed up, the consequences weren’t as high as when kids on the South Side screw up. (Applause.) So I had more of a safety net. But these guys are no different than me, and we had that conversation about what does it take to change. And the same thing that it takes for us individually to change, I said to them, well, that’s what it takes for communities to change. That’s what it takes for countries to change. It’s not easy.
But it does require us, first of all, having a vision about where we want to be. It requires us recognizing that it will be hard work getting there. It requires us being able to overcome and persevere in the face of roadblocks and disappointments and failures. It requires us reflecting internally about who we are and what we believe in, and facing up to our own fears and insecurities, and admitting when we’re wrong. And that same thing that we have to do in our individual lives that these guys talked about, that’s what we have to do for our communities. And it will not be easy, but it can be done.
When Hadiya Pendleton and her classmates visited Washington three weeks ago, they spent time visiting the monuments — including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial just off the National Mall. And that memorial stands as a tribute to everything Dr. King achieved in his lifetime. But it also reminds us of how hard that work was and how many disappointments he experienced. He was here in Chicago fighting poverty, and just like a lot of us, there were times where he felt like he was losing hope. So in some ways, that memorial is a testament not to work that’s completed, but it’s a testament to the work that remains unfinished.
His goal was to free us not only from the shackles of discrimination, but from the shadow of poverty that haunts too many of our communities, the self-destructive impulses, and the mindless violence that claims so many lives of so many innocent young people.
These are difficult challenges. No solution we offer will be perfect. But perfection has never been our goal. Our goal has been to try and make whatever difference we can. Our goal has been to engage in the hard but necessary work of bringing America one step closer to the nation we know we can be.
If we do that, if we’re striving with every fiber of our being to strengthen our middle class, to extend ladders of opportunity for everybody who is trying as hard as they can to create a better life for themselves; if we do everything in our power to keep our children safe from harm; if we’re fulfilling our obligations to one another and to future generations; if we make that effort, then I’m confident — I’m confident that we will write the next great chapter in our American story. I’m not going to be able to do it by myself, though. Nobody can. We’re going to have to do it together.
Thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
END 3:58 P.M. CST
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 15, 2013
Full Text Political Headlines February 9, 2013: GOP Weekly Address: Senator Lisa Murkowski’s New Energy ‘Blueprint’
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
GOP Address: Sen. Murkowski’s New Energy ’Blueprint’
Source: ABC News Radio, 2-9-13
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, delivers this week’s Republican address, in which she discusses her “blueprint” for more “abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure” energy….READ MORE
Hi, I’m Senator Lisa Murkowski from the state of Alaska. In this new Congress I continue to serve as the lead Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and today I want to discuss the tremendous opportunities that await us in those areas.
Energy has been a source of anxiety for our nation since the 1970s. And yet thanks to new technologies, an era of scarcity is quickly giving way to one of abundance. We now have a 90-year supply of natural gas, enough oil to eliminate OPEC imports for decades, and a broad range of promising options for alternatives and efficiency. There may never have been a time when America has had more potential for energy production—or better ability to use our energy wisely.
But of course, we recognize all is not well. Energy production on public lands owned by the federal government either stayed flat or fell in recent years. America’s energy infrastructure has aged, the price of oil is high, and the need for reliable energy has never been more urgent. Projects are too often hamstrung by burdensome regulations, delayed permits, and overzealous litigation. Our energy situation has improved in some respects, but we can still demand better.
In fact, we should demand better.
To take full advantage of our energy opportunities—and to face up to our energy challenges—this week I released a report entitled, Energy 20/20: A Vision for America’s Energy Future. It’s based on a simple insight: energy is good. Energy provides the basis of modern society and allows us to lead comfortable and productive lives. It allows us to produce food and manufacture and communicate. As we found out during the power outage at the Super Bowl, it’s also pretty important to professional football.
Energy is not a necessary evil. Energy is good. And that’s why it is in our national interest to make energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure. I believe that there’s a consensus around these five objectives, and our challenge now is to align federal policy with them.
To accomplish that, my blueprint offers some 200 recommendations. These span the spectrum of resources and reforms, from the immediate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to a trust fund for energy research that is paid for with the revenues from new production.
Every recommendation in my blueprint is associated with a clear goal for the year 2020. We can end our dependence on OPEC oil. We can help make renewable energy more competitive, build on our efficiency gains, and re-establish the supply chain for critical minerals. We can ensure that research, and not endless regulation, is the force behind technological innovation. Through sensible regulatory reforms, we can prevent the misuse of environmental laws and allow projects to proceed—and all the while maintaining the highest environmental standards in the world.
The ideas in my blueprint would create new jobs, generate new revenues, and slash our dependence on foreign energy. They would shore up our security and strengthen our economy. They would help us minimize the impacts of energy development and reduce the emissions that are blamed for climate change.
Now, it is true that my blueprint does not rely on new mandates or new regulations to achieve these goals. And it doesn’t drive up taxes or energy prices. It doesn’t limit choice or lavish subsidies. Now, there are some who continue to believe that those options represent the best or perhaps the only path forward. But that’s wrong. There is a resource that must be protected, left untapped and undisturbed—and that’s you, the American taxpayer.
It’s fair to say that not every member of Congress will support every proposal in my blueprint. And that’s why I describe it as a conversation starter. It’s intended to provoke a new and a better discussion about energy, to recognize how bright our future can be, and to provide a prudent alternative to the heavy-handed approaches coming from the Administration and the EPA.
We can do better. We can renew and reimagine our energy policies. And now that we have a blueprint that can help guide the way.
I want to thank you for listening. If you’re interested in reading Energy 20/20, it’s available on my committee website at energy.senate.gov. Thanks so much.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 9, 2013
Full Text Campaign Buzz August 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Waterloo, Iowa
CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012
Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Waterloo, Iowa
Source: WH, 8-14-12
Waterloo Center for the Arts
8:05 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Waterloo! (Applause.) What a beautiful evening here in Iowa! (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.) This is spectacular! It feels good to be back. (Applause.)
A couple of acknowledgments I want to make — first of all, Mike is a pretty humble guy, but this is the Iowa Firefighter of the Year. Give him a big round of applause for that great introduction. (Applause.) We are proud of him, and every single firefighter that puts their life at risk for us. We are grateful to them.
A couple other outstanding folks here — you’ve got your own Attorney General, Tom Miller, in the house. (Applause.) Congressman Bruce Braley is here. (Applause.) And Mayor Buck Clark is here. (Applause.) And all of you are here. (Applause.)
Now, listen, if you’ve got a seat, feel free to sit down, because I’ve got some things to say. I’ve got some things to say. First of all, it is good to be back. Some of you may remember that one of my first stops after I announced for the presidency was right here in Waterloo. (Applause.) Back — way back when in 2007. I had no gray hair. (Laughter.) Maybe I had a little bit, but you couldn’t see it. (Laughter.) Now you can see it.
But the reason that’s important, it’s worth reminding people, is because it was on your front, it was in your backyards, where our movement for change began. We spent a lot of time on bus tours like the one I’m taking right now — although the bus wasn’t as nice as it is now. (Laughter.) And we went to school gyms and family farms and small businesses across the state. And so it was pretty good being back here — yesterday I went to the State Fair and I had a pork chop and a beer. (Applause.) And it was good. (Laughter.) Today I just had a beer. (Laughter.) I didn’t get the pork chop. But the beer was good, too.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I’ll fry you a pork chop!
THE PRESIDENT: You say you’ll fry me a pork chop, huh? (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Four more beers?
THE PRESIDENT: Somebody just said — it’s true, at the State Fair, instead of saying “four more years,” they were saying, “four more beers.” (Laughter.) So I bought him four more beers. (Laughter.) Told him he had to register to vote, though, to get one of the beers. (Laughter.)
Now, here’s the thing. The reason I’m back — other than I just love being in Iowa — (applause) — the reason I’m back is because that journey we started in 2008, we’re not finished yet. (Applause.) So just like we did in 2007, we started over in Council Bluffs, and we are driving all the way to the Quads. And we want to make sure that everybody understands the choice that you face in November.
And this choice could not be bigger, because it’s not just a choice between two candidates; it’s not just a choice between two parties. More than any recent election, more than 2008, this is a choice between two fundamentally different visions of where we need to go as a country.
THE PRESIDENT: And the direction that you choose when you walk into that voting booth in November, that’s going to have an impact not just on your lives, it will have an impact on your children and your grandchildren for decades to come.
Now, remember why we came together in 2008. And it was Democrats and independents, but it was also some Republicans. It was because we saw that the basic bargain that built this country, that created the most prosperous economy the world has ever known, that basic bargain wasn’t being met. And let me tell you what that bargain is. It says that if you work hard, your work should be rewarded. (Applause.) It says that if you act responsibly and you put in enough effort, you can find a job that pays the bills. (Applause.) You can have a home that you call your own. You won’t go broke just because somebody in your family gets sick. You can retire with dignity and respect. (Applause.) And most importantly, you can give your kids a great education so they can dream even bigger and do even better than you did. (Applause.)
That is the American promise. That is what made this country great. But the problem was, for a decade we had seen that bargain wasn’t being met. The promise wasn’t being kept. So we had seen a decade in which jobs were being shipped overseas, and wages and incomes for working people were going down — even though folks at the very top were doing very well — and the costs of everything from health care to college were going up. We ran two wars on a credit card. We went from surplus to deficit. So when I walked into office we already had a $1 trillion deficit. And it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
That’s the track record of the other party the last time they were in charge. And we knew that restoring the bargain that made this country great would not be easy. It was going to take more than one year, or one term, or even more than one President, but we knew we had to get started. And obviously it became that much harder when the middle class was hammered by this crisis, because a lot of folks lost jobs, lost homes, lost savings, and that American Dream seemed even further out of reach.
But I told you there wouldn’t be any quick fixes, there wouldn’t be any easy solutions, but what I also promised you — and I absolutely believe this — is we’ve got everything we need to meet our challenges. (Applause.) Waterloo, we’ve still got the best workers in the world. (Applause.) And the best entrepreneurs in the world. We’ve got the best scientists, and the best researchers in the world. We’ve got the best farmers in the world. We’ve got the best colleges and universities in the world. (Applause.) We are still a young nation, full of promise, and we’ve got the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity from every corner of the globe.
So no matter what the naysayers say, no matter how dark they try to paint things when they’re running against me in an election, there is not another country on Earth that wouldn’t trade places with the United States of America. (Applause.) Because people around the world still believe that America is the place where, if you work hard, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, you can still make it. (Applause.)
That’s the idea that we are running to rebuild. That is the campaign. That is what my presidency is about. That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: Now, Waterloo, there is one thing standing in our way, though. It is strange politics in Washington. You’ve got a party that says “compromise” is a dirty word. Folks who want to go back to the same top-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place.
You may have heard my opponent chose as his running mate Congressman Ryan this weekend and –
AUDIENCE: Booo –
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no, listen, I know Congressman Ryan. He is a decent man. He is a family man. He is the ideological leader of the Republicans in Congress. And he’s an articulate spokesperson for Governor Romney’s vision. The problem his vision is wrong. (Applause.) See, my opponent, Governor Romney, and his friends in Congress, they believe — this is their whole platform, this is their basic plan, as much detail as you get, this is what you get. Their plan to grow the economy is to eliminate regulations, including on big banks and insurance companies — some of the regulations we put in place to make sure, for example, that we don’t have another taxpayer-funded bailout, so he wants to get rid of regulations, and then what he wants to do is give more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. And the idea, then, is that jobs and prosperity will trickle down on everybody. That’s the centerpiece of his plan. You can go on his website.
His economic plan is a new $5 trillion tax cut, a lot of it going to the wealthiest Americans. Now, keep in mind, these are the same folks who say the deficit is our biggest problem, but they want to pass a new $5 trillion tax cut — $5 trillion, that’s with a “t” — (laughter.) So just to give you some perspective, our annual defense budget, everything we spend on national security, is just a little over $500 billion. So this would be, every year for 10 years, a tax cut as big as our defense spending.
And here’s the kicker, though — he says he’s going to pay for it. So people asked, well, how are you going to pay for it? It turns out that he expects you to pay for it.
AUDIENCE: Booo –
THE PRESIDENT: He expects middle-class families to pick up the tab. Governor Romney’s plan, according to independent analysts, would actually raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000.
AUDIENCE: Booo –
THE PRESIDENT: Now, keep in mind this is not $2,000 to reduce the deficit, or create jobs, or build new schools, or help kids go to college, or send a man to the moon. This is $2,000 each that you’d have to pay to give another $250,000 tax cut to folks who are making $3 million a year or more.
AUDIENCE: Booo –
AUDIENCE MEMBER: That’s crazy! (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Now, I’m not making this stuff up. You can look on their website.
Now, here’s the thing — we’ve tried this before. We tried this trickle-down fairy dust before. And guess what — it didn’t work then, it won’t work now. It’s not a plan to create jobs. It’s not a plan to lower the deficit. It’s not a plan to move our economy forward. It’s not a plan to revive the middle class.
We do not need more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. We need to give tax relief to working families who are trying to raise their kids, keep them healthy, send them to college, keep a roof over their heads. That’s the choice in this election. That’s one of the reasons I’m running for a second term as President. (Applause.)
So, Waterloo, I’ve got a different idea. Four years ago, I came into office — I promised to cut taxes for middle-class families. That’s exactly what I’ve done — by a total of about $3,600 for the typical family. So if you talk to somebody who is feeling not convinced and undecided in the election, you tell them your taxes are lower — your federal taxes are lower now than when I came into office. (Applause.)
Now, what I want to do is I want to keep everybody’s taxes right there where they are for the first $250,000 of everybody’s income. (Applause.) So if your family makes under $250,000 — like 98 percent of families do, and 97 percent of small businesses do — then you won’t see your income taxes go up by a single dime next year. Not one dime. (Applause.)
But if you’re fortunate enough to be in the other 2 percent — like I am — you’ll still get a tax break on your first $250,000. But for the amount that you make over that, we’re asking you to contribute a little bit more so we can pay down our deficit without gutting education, without getting rid of transportation projects, without gutting all the things that help make America grow.
Now, government — I’ll make sure government still does its part to reduce our debt and our deficits. We’ve cut out already a trillion dollars’ worth of spending we don’t need. And we can do more. I want to make government efficient. We’ve got to make sure that your tax dollars are being well spent. But we can’t bring down our deficit and our debt just by asking us to get rid of the things that help open up opportunity to Americans. (Applause.)
So instead, we’re asking folks like me to go back to the rates we paid under Bill Clinton — which, by the way, was a time when we created 23 million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus, and we created a whole lot of millionaires to boot. (Applause.)
See, Waterloo, this comes down to your basic philosophy, but also, when you look at the evidence of our economic history — when teachers and nurses and firefighters and receptionists and construction workers, when you’ve got a little more money in your pocket, what do you do? You spend it. Because times are tight, right? So if you’ve got a little extra money, now maybe you finally trade in that 10-year-old car you’ve been driving. Maybe you buy a computer for your kid who is about to go to college. So suddenly businesses have more customers, which means they’re making more profits, which means they’re hiring more workers, who then spend more money, and suddenly the economy gets better for everybody — including folks at the top.
I don’t believe in top-down economics. I believe in middle-class-out economics. I believe in bottom-up economics. I believe in making sure everybody has got a fair shot. That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States of America. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: But you know what? That’s not the only difference between me and Mr. Romney. When the auto industry was on the brink of collapse — you remember that — more than a million jobs at stake, Governor Romney said, let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt.” I said, let’s bet on American workers. (Applause.) And management and workers got together in a great, iconic American industry, and you know what? Three years later, the American auto industry is roaring back. (Applause.)
I want to see high-tech, advanced manufacturing come back all across America in other industries. I don’t want those jobs in China or Germany. I want them here in Iowa. (Applause.) Governor Romney says, well, no, look, I understand the economy because I’ve been in the private sector. Well, a lot of that experience was investing in companies, including those that were called “pioneers” in the business of outsourcing. He wants to keep giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas. I want to end those tax breaks once and for all and start rewarding companies that are investing right here in the United States of America, hiring American workers, making American products. That’s the choice in this election. (Applause.)
That’s not the only difference. Right now, we’re seeing homegrown energy, new sources of energy creating jobs right here in Iowa. So what does Governor Romney want to do? He wants to end the tax credit for wind energy producers. He said these new sources of energy are “imaginary.” Congressman Ryan, his running mate, calls them a “fad.” During a speech a few months ago, Governor Romney even explained his energy policy. This is what he said — he said, “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.” (Laughter.) That’s what he said about wind power — you can’t drive a car with a windmill on it. (Laughter.) I mean, maybe he’s tried it; he’s put other things on the roof. (Laughter and applause.)
But if he really wants to learn something about wind energy, he should come to Iowa. (Applause.) Then he’d know that 7,000 Iowa jobs depend on the wind industry — more than any other state in America. (Applause.) These jobs aren’t a “fad.” They’re our future. He’d know that the parts for making these high-tech wind turbines, they’re now made in Iowa. They’re made in America. That’s not “imaginary.” (Applause.) I’ve been to the places in Newton, Iowa where some of this stuff is being made. (Applause.)
I understand he may not have figured out how to drive a car with a windmill on it, but if he came to Iowa, he’d know that 20 percent of Iowa’s electricity now comes from wind energy. America has doubled the amount of electricity we get from wind over the last four years, enough power for nearly 13 million homes — clean, renewable energy. That’s something you leave behind for the next generation. That is worth fighting for. There are 37,000 American jobs at stake in this wind energy tax credit. We should support it. I support it. (Applause.)
And instead of giving $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies that are making plenty of money every time you go to the pump, we should be investing in homegrown energy that’s never been more promising. That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for a second term. (Applause.)
I’m not done yet. In 2008, I promised to end the war in Iraq — I ended it. (Applause.) Governor Romney said the way I ended it was “tragic”. I said I’d go after al Qaeda and bin Laden — I went after them. (Applause.) We’re now beginning a transition out of Afghanistan. And so all of this is possible only because of the extraordinary service of our men and women in uniform. And that’s why I’ve made sure to make historic investments in the VA — because somebody who has fought for us shouldn’t have to fight for a job when they come home. (Applause.)
But if we’re serious about them coming home to a strong economy, then we’ve got to do some building here at home, some nation-building — take half of the money that we’ve been spending over a decade of war and let’s start doing some rebuilding here in America. (Applause.) Let’s put Americans back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and ports and airports, laying broadband lines in rural communities. (Applause.) Let’s create a Veterans Jobs Corp so returning heroes can get jobs as firefighters and cops in communities that need them.
There’s a lot of work to be done right here in America, and I’m running to rebuild America. That’s a choice in this election. (Applause.)
And I’m running make sure America once again has the best education system in the world and the best training system for workers in the world. (Applause.) I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science. I want to give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges to train for the jobs that businesses are hiring for right now. (Applause.) I want to get colleges and universities to bring down the cost of tuition, so that every young person can get the kind of education that they need to succeed in the 21st century. (Applause.)
I want to help homeowners refinance their homes, save $3,000 at these historically low rates. Governor Romney thinks we should just let the housing market bottom out. That’s a difference in this election.
I believe that you should have some health care security. That’s why I passed Obamacare. And I like Obamacare. (Applause.) I like the phrase “Obamacare”, because you know what, I do care. (Applause.) I care about all those folks with preexisting conditions who now are going to be able to get coverage. (Applause.) I care about folks who already have insurance, making sure insurance companies don’t jerk them around right when they need that insurance the most. (Applause.)
I care about the 6.5 million young people who are now able to stay on their parent’s plan and don’t have to go without insurance. (Applause.) I care about the seniors who now have more discounts on their prescriptions drugs — and we’re closing the doughnut hole. (Applause.)
So, Waterloo, we don’t need another two years of arguing about health care. The Supreme Court has spoken. We are implementing this law. We are moving forward. We’re not moving backwards. (Applause.)
All these things — health care security, American manufacturing, rebuilding America and putting construction workers back to work, making sure our kids are getting a great education and can afford college — all these things that make up a middle-class life, they all tie together. It goes back to that central idea of America, that here in this country everybody gets a fair shot, everybody does their fair share, everybody plays by the same set of rules. It’s the same promise our parents and grandparents passed on to us. And now, our job is to pass it on to our kids. (Applause.)
Now, over the next three months, the other side will spend more money than we have ever seen. Now, you noticed their ads generally don’t tell you what it is that they’re going to do, because they know their plans won’t sell. You haven’t forgotten. You didn’t get amnesia. (Laughter.) You didn’t forget the last time they tried what they’re selling.
So basically, the argument that they’re going to make over and over again is just the same one, which is the economy is still not where it needs to be and it’s Obama’s fault.
AUDIENCE: Booo –
THE PRESIDENT: And you know what? Listen, the economy is not where it needs to be. We’ve still got too many folks out of work and too many homes underwater. And we haven’t brought back all the jobs that need to be brought back. But you know what, what they’re offering — it’s not a plan to create jobs. It’s not a plan to reduce the deficit. They don’t have a plan to grow the economy. They don’t have a plan to revive the middle class.
The plan I’ve put forward can do that. But I need your help. I need your help. (Applause.) Your friends have to be registered. Your family has to be registered. You can get a voter registration form online. Just go to GottaRegister.com. This is not GotToRegister.com — this is g-o-t-t-a register, GottaRegister.com — (applause) — because we’ve come too far to turn back now.
We’ve been outspent before. I’ve been counted out before. But here’s what I know. When all of you decide to mobilize and organize, and when you focus on those values that are best in America, when you remember the stories of your family and your parents, your grandparents — the hard work, the sacrifice — recognizing sometimes times are tough and sometimes we get knocked down but we get back up, we are determined, we are tougher than any tough times — and most importantly, that reminder that when we do things together, when we’re focused on how we build this country together, we can’t be stopped — that’s more powerful than any money. (Applause.) That’s more powerful than any TV commercials.
So we’ve got to keep on going, because we’ve got too many schools we still need to build; too many teachers we still need to hire; too many kids we still need to send to college. We’ve got too many roads we still need to build; too much energy we’ve still got to generate right here at home; too many troops we’ve got to bring home; too many doors of opportunity that we’ve got to open up for every young person who’s willing to make the effort. That’s what’s at stake right now. (Applause.)
And if you’re willing to stand with me, and work with me, and vote for me, we will win Iowa. (Applause.) We will win in November. (Applause.) And we will finish what we started and remind the world why America is the greatest nation on Earth.
God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
8:35 P.M. CDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 14, 2012
Full Text Obama Presidency August 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Shows Support for Alternative Energy at Iowa Wind Farm
POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:
POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES
Obama Shows Support for Alternative Energy at Iowa Wind Farm
Source: ABC News Radio, 8-14-12
President Obama made a surprise detour to a wind farm Tuesday, part of his ongoing effort to tout his support for one of this swing state’s top industries.
“At a moment when we want to pursue every avenue for job creation, it’s homegrown energy like wind that’s creating good, new jobs in states like Iowa,” the president told reporters after touring the wind turbines on the Heil Family Farm, which harvests enough wind to power an estimated 30,000 Iowa homes….READ MORE
Remarks by the President on Wind Energy
Source: WH, 8-14-12
Heil Family Farm
2:55 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I want to thank Jeff Heil and his father, Richard, for showing me around the farm. And I think it’s remarkable to think that the Heil family has been farming this land since 1902, but they’ve got a relatively new addition in the wind turbines that you see in the background. They’re part of the Laurel wind farm — 52 turbines that harvest enough wind power to power an estimated 30,000 Iowa homes in a way that’s clean and renewable.
And at a moment when we want to pursue every avenue for job creation, it’s homegrown energy like wind that’s creating good, new jobs in states like Iowa. Let me give you an example. Back when I was first running for this office and spending a lot of time in this state, I visited the town of Newton, about a half an hour down the road. The local Maytag plant was closing its doors and nearly 2,000 jobs were on the line. So you had a once-thriving factory that was going dark and going quiet and, understandably, folks were worried about what would happen to the community.
Then wind energy offered a new opportunity. When I returned to Newton to visit that plant as President several months ago, some of the same folks who had lost their jobs at Maytag were back on the line building wind towers to support some of the most advanced wind turbines in the world.
Earlier this year, at a different plant about five minutes from there, I met workers building enormous blades for these wind turbines. And I’m proud of the fact that, while we used to have to import parts like those, today they’re made in Newton, made in Iowa, made in America by American workers.
Unfortunately, what we thought was a bipartisan consensus in supporting wind power has been fraying a little bit during election season. My opponent in this election says he wants to end tax credits for wind energy, wind energy producers that make all this possible. He’s called these sources of energy “imaginary”; his new running mate has called them a “fad”.
I think a lot of folks in Iowa would disagree, because wind farms like this and the good jobs that are down in Newton, they’re not a “fad” and they’re not “imaginary.” Seventy-five thousand jobs across this country depend on wind energy; 7,000 jobs in Iowa alone. That’s more than in any other state. These are good, American jobs. And thanks to the hard work of the folks who have these jobs, Iowa generates about 20 percent of its electricity from wind — energy that powers homes and businesses and factories all across the state.
Over the past four years, we’ve doubled the amount of electricity America can generate from wind — from 25 gigawatts to 50 gigawatts. And to put that in perspective, that’s like building 12 new Hoover Dams that are powering homes all across the country. We doubled the amount of electricity we generate from solar energy, too. And combined, these energy sources are enough power to make sure that 13 million homes have reliable power and support the paychecks that help more than 100,000 Americans provide for their families.
That’s not imaginary. That is real. And that’s what’s at stake in November. Thirty-seven thousand American jobs are on the line if the wind energy tax credit is allowed to expire like my opponent thinks they should. And unlike Governor Romney, I want to stop giving $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies that have rarely been more profitable so that we can keep investing in homegrown energy sources like wind that have never been more promising. That’s part of the choice in this election.
We can listen to folks who want to take us backwards by doubling down on the same economic policies that got us into a fix several years ago and that we’re still fighting out of. Or we can keep moving forward to a future with more good, American jobs, more sources of homegrown, American energy, greater energy independence, and cleaner, safer environments for our kids.
And I think it was interesting talking to Jeff. He described how these wind farms got started, and what you had was all the neighboring farms coming together and essentially forming a cooperative. And folks who had these windmills on their land, on their property, recognized that, look, that was going to have an impact on folks who might not. And so everybody in this area, whether they’ve got a wind farm or not, helps benefit — or is benefiting from the economics of this wind energy.
And that’s an example of what America is about. We believe in free enterprise, we believe in hard work. The Heil family is an example of that. But we also believe in neighborliness and working together for the common good. And as a consequence of their foresight and their creativity, and with the help of these wind energy tax credits, every farmer, every landowner in this area, is benefiting. And all of us are benefiting from clean, American energy.
So I hope we continue to promote this kind of energy. I know the Heil family does, too. And my expectation is, is that over the next several years, in the same way that we’ve doubled wind energy in the past, we’re going to keep on doubling it in the future.
Thanks very much, everybody.
3:01 P.M. CDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 14, 2012
Full Text Obama Presidency May 24, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Discusses Clean Energy Agenda in Iowa
POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:
POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES
President Obama Touts Clean Energy Agenda in Iowa
Source: ABC News Radio, 5-24-12
Visiting the critical battleground state of Iowa Thursday, President Obama touted his election-year energy agenda and urged Republican lawmakers to put politics aside and back his proposals to boost the economy.
“Too many of my Republican friends in Congress are standing in the way. They either want to do nothing at all or they want to double down on the same failed policies that got us into this mess,” the president told workers in the blue-collar town of Newton, Iowa.
Obama has been publicly pushing lawmakers to act on his “honey-do” list for Congress, five items that he has been promoting for months, but that have gained little traction on Capitol Hill….READ MORE
President Obama Talks Clean Energy in Iowa
Source: WH, 5-24-12
cPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks urging Congress to act on the “To Do List” and highlighting the need to invest in clean energy by passing legislation, at TPI Composites Iowa’s wind turbine blade facility in Newton, Iowa, May 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
In Iowa this afternoon, President Obama continued to press lawmakers to take action on his To-Do List for Congress.
He traveled to Newton to push for the renewal of a tax credit for companies that produce clean energy. The credit currently supports as many as 37,000 jobs.
His host for the visit was TPI Composites — a company that makes blades for wind turbines and employs more 700 people.
“If Congress doesn’t act, companies like this one will take a hit,” he said. “Jobs will be lost. That’s not a guess, that’s a fact. We can’t let that happen.”
Currently, 20 percent of all the electricity used in the Iowa is generated by wind power, and there are currently more wind power jobs in the state than in any other in America.
Overall, the United States generates enough electricity from wind to power 10 million homes. And there are 500 production facilities in 43 states putting people to work in that industry.
Later, he answered questions about the To-Do List on Twitter.
Remarks by the President on Energy in Newton, Iowa
4:30 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Iowa! (Applause.) Well, it is good to be back in Newton! (Applause.) It’s been a while. It’s good to be back in Iowa. It’s brought back memories — of a lot of driving. (Laughter.) And I just had a great tour of this facility. By the way, if people have chairs, feel free to sit down. (Laughter.) Some of you may not have seats, but I want to make everybody comfortable. But don’t worry, I’m not going to talk that long. I didn’t want to give that impression.
I just had a wonderful tour of this facility. And I was telling some of the folks we couldn’t take the helicopters in because the winds were too strong, so you are definitely in the right business. (Laughter.) Obviously there’s some wind power here in Iowa that we want to tap.
I want to thank Quinten for the terrific introduction and for sharing his story. Give Quinten a big round of applause. (Applause.) Quinten was telling my team this is the first time he’s ever spoken in public. But he looked like a pro to me. (Applause.)
I want to thank your mayor, Mayor Allen, for welcoming us here today. (Applause.) I also want to thank Representative Dave Loebsack for being here. Give Dave a big round of applause. (Applause.) And I know he had to leave early, but I just want to acknowledge somebody you know well — our outstanding Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. (Applause.) Tom was instrumental in helping transform Newton and he’s still got your back. He is still fighting every single day for every single person in this town, but all across rural America. And so we’re very proud of him.
Now, we all know how difficult these past few years have been for the country. Iowa has actually done a little better than some other states, but it’s still been tough. And after the worst recession of our lifetimes, it’s going to take some time for the economy to fully recover — more time than a lot of us would like. And we’re still facing some headwinds, like the situation in Europe right now, which is having an impact on our economy.
But while there’s certain economic developments we can’t control, there are a bunch of things that we can control. There are plenty of steps that we can take right now — steps that we must take right now — to speed up this recovery and to create jobs, and to restore some of the financial security that a lot of families have lost. It’s within our control to do all of that right now. But here’s the thing — (applause.) It’s true, we can make that difference.
The challenge we’ve got is that too many folks aren’t on the same page. We’ve got too many of my dear Republican friends in Congress that have been standing in the way of some steps that we could take that would make a difference at the moment. Either they say they don’t want to do anything at all, or they don’t want to do it before the election, or they want to double down on some of the policies that didn’t work and helped to get us into this mess in the first place.
And Newton knows something about that — because Newton lost manufacturing. Newton lost Maytag. A lot of the trends that we had seen even before the financial crisis hit, hit Newton first. And so when you hear somebody say we should cut more taxes, especially for the wealthiest Americans, well, Newton, you’ve been there and you’ve done that. We did that — 2000, 2001, 2003. When you hear people say that we should cut back more on the rules we put in place for banks and financial institutions to avoid another taxpayer bailout — well, we tried that. When people say that we should just wait until the housing market hits bottom and hope that it comes back, hope for the best — well, that’s not an answer for people. That doesn’t make sense.
We’ve tried at lot of these ideas for nearly a decade. It did not work. We saw manufacturing moving offshore. We saw a few people do very well, but too many families struggling just to get by — all before the financial crisis hit. And the financial crisis made it worse. So we can’t go backwards. We’ve got to move forward. We’ve got to build an economy where hard work and responsibility pay off, where you can find a good job and own your own home, maybe start your own businesses and give your kids a chance for a better future. (Applause.) That’s the American way. That’s who we are. (Applause.)
So I’ve been pushing Congress to help us get there by passing a few common-sense policies that would strengthen the economy and put more folks to work right now. We even made a handy “To-Do” list that they can check off. It’s just like the to-do list Michelle gives me, a “honey-do” list. (Laughter.) There are only five things on it, on this “To-Do” list, but these are all things we could get done before the election. We don’t have to wait until then. There are some things that we should put ahead of politics, and one of them is making sure that the economy is moving forward and the recovery is moving forward. (Applause.)
And like I said, I kept it simple. There are just five things. I didn’t want to overload Congress with too much at once. (Laughter.) But these are all ideas that will make a difference right now and we shouldn’t wait for an election to get them done.
So first up on the list, it makes no sense that we’re actually still giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs and factories overseas. That doesn’t make sense at all. That doesn’t make any sense. (Applause.) So what I’ve asked Congress to do is end tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas, use that money to cover the moving expenses for companies that are bringing jobs back to the United States of America. That’s a common-sense approach. (Applause.)
Second, we’ve asked Congress to give every responsible homeowner — folks who have been making their mortgage payments — the opportunity to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage and taking advantage of these historically low rates. The problem is a lot of folks are having trouble refinancing if their home is underwater, if it’s worth less than their mortgage, and sometimes banks have been pulling back a little bit. We want to make it easier for people to refinance. So that’s the second thing because that will create — that will put more money in the economy for everybody. And if you’ve got an extra $3,000 in your pocket, then you’ll go shopping, you’ll go out to a restaurant — suddenly there’s a lot more money circulating and the economy gets stronger. So that’s the second thing.
Two weeks ago I was in Reno, Nevada, with a family — they got a chance to refinance because of some steps that we had already taken administratively, and it’s making a huge difference in their lives. And we want all families to have that same opportunity.
Third thing, instead of just talking about job creators — you always hear — every member of Congress has said, we’ve got to help the job creators. Okay, let’s help them. Congress should help small business owners who create most of the new jobs in America — small business owners — (Applause.) So what we want to do is give them a tax break for hiring more workers and for paying them higher wages. Give them an incentive to say, you know what, if on the margins maybe I’m thinking about hiring that extra person, if I get a tax break it makes that person a little bit cheaper to hire, and that can put more of our neighbors and friends back to work. So that’s a common-sense idea. (Applause.)
Fourth thing, we have done a whole lot to make sure that those men and women who have served us in Iraq and Afghanistan, that we are serving them as well as they’ve served us — (applause) — treating them with the honor and respect that they have earned when they come home. (Applause.) So we put together the Post-9/11 GI Bill so they’re able to go back and get some training and skills. We mobilized the private sector to hire more veterans and give them the private sector incentives to hire more veterans.
But there’s another thing we can do. Congress should create what we’re calling a Veterans Jobs Corps, so that we can help communities across America put our returning heroes back to work as police officers and firefighters and park rangers. Nobody who fought for our country overseas should have to fight for a job when they come back home. We’ve still got too much unemployment among our veterans. (Applause.)
So those are four simple things. And the fifth thing is the reason why I’m here today. The fifth item on my “To-Do” list — I’m calling on Congress to extend tax credits that are set to expire at the end of the year for clean-energy companies like TPI. (Applause.) Let’s not wait. Let’s do it now. (Applause.)
Many of you know the story of what’s happening here better than I do, but I just want to remind you how far we’ve come. Shortly after I took office, I came to Newton — some of you remember — and we unveiled an all-of-the-above energy strategy for America. We said let’s produce more oil and gas, but let’s also produce more biofuels; let’s produce more fuel-efficient cars; let’s produce more solar and wind powerand other sources of clean, renewable energy. And I came to Newton because Newton is helping to lead the way when it comes to building wind turbines.
And since then, our dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year that I’ve been in office — every single year. (Applause.) America is now producing more domestic oil than any time in the last eight years. But we’re also producing more natural gas, and we’re producing more biofuels than any time in our history. And that’s good for the Iowa economy. (Applause.) We’re laying the foundation for some of our nation’s first offshore wind farms. And since I became President, America has nearly doubled the use of renewable energy, like solar power and wind power — we’ve nearly doubled it. (Applause.)
So this country is on the path towards more energy independence. And that’s good for everybody. It’s good for people’s pocketbooks; it’s good for the environment; it’s good for our national security. We don’t want our economy dependent on something that happens on the other side of the world. We don’t want every time there’s a scare about war or some regime change in the Middle East that suddenly everybody here is getting socked and the whole economy is going down.
And the best thing is, in the process, we’re also putting thousands of Americans back to work — because the more we rely on American-made energy, the less oil we buy from other countries, the more jobs we create here at home, the more jobs we create here in Iowa.
So let’s look at the wind industry. It’s so important to Iowa. This industry, thanks in large part to some very important tax credits, has now taken off. The state of Iowa now gets nearly 20 percent of all your electricity from wind — 20 percent. Overall, America now has enough wind capacity to power 10 million homes. So this is an industry on the rise. And as you know, it’s an industry that’s putting people to work. You know this firsthand. There are more wind power jobs in Iowa than any other state. That’s a big deal. (Applause.)
And one of these modern windmills has more than 8,000 different parts — everything from the towers and the blades to the gears, to the electrical switches. And it used to be that almost all these parts were imported. Today, more and more of these parts are being made here in America — right here. (Applause.) We used to have just a few dozen manufacturing facilities attached to the wind industry. Today we have nearly 500 facilities in 43 states employing tens of thousands of American workers — tens of thousands.
So we’re making progress. And you know it better than anybody. I mean, when I was talking to Quinten and Mark and a whole bunch of the other folks who are working here, they reminded me of the experience at working at Maytag and putting your heart and soul into a company and making a great product, and then, suddenly having that company leave, and how hard that was for families and how hard it was for the community. But folks made the transition.
And now, when you look at what’s happening here — 700 to 800 jobs, over $30 million being put back into the community — this gives folks hope. It gives people opportunity. I met some folks who have been in manufacturing for 30 years, but I also met a couple of young folks who were just getting started. And that’s what we’re looking for. Nobody wants a handout. Nobody wants to get something for nothing. But if we’ve got a chance to create energy and create value and put people back to work, why wouldn’t we do that?
So I’m here today because, as much progress as we’ve made, that progress is in jeopardy. If Congress doesn’t act, those tax credits that I mentioned — the ones that helped build up the wind industry, the ones that helped to bring all these jobs to Newton, those tax credits will expire at the end of the year if Congress doesn’t do anything.
If Congress doesn’t act, companies like this one will take a hit. Jobs will be lost. That’s not a guess, that’s a fact. We can’t let that happen. And keep in mind that — and this is something Congress needs to understand — Dave Loebsack understands it, but I want every member of Congress to understand it. These companies that are putting in orders for these amazing blades, they’re making plans now. They’re making decisions now. So if they’re cutting back on their orders, if they’re not confident that the industry is going to be moving at a fast clip and they start reducing orders here, that affects you. You can’t wait for six months. You can’t wait for eight months. You can’t wait for a year to get this done. It’s got to be done now. (Applause.)
So this is a simple thing on Congress’s “To-Do” list — extend these tax credits. Do it now. Every day they don’t act business grows more concerned that they will not be renewed. They’re worried demand for their products is going down, so they start thinking twice about expanding, more cautious about making new investments. They start looking overseas. I was talking to your CEO. We got an opportunity to branch out, but we want to branch out by making the stuff here and then sending it there. We don’t want to branch out by sending the jobs and the investments over there, and then shipping it back to America. That doesn’t make sense. (Applause.) One company that had plans to invest $100 million to build a wind manufacturing plant in Arkansas — and create hundreds of jobs –- put those plans on hold.
And by the way, this should not be a partisan issue. There are several Republican governors –- including the governor of this state -– who are calling on Congress to act. There are members of Congress in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle –- including your two senators –- who support these tax credits. And that doesn’t happen much in Washington where Democrats and Republicans say they agree on something. So if you agree, why haven’t we gotten it done yet?
This is not just an issue, by the way, for the wind industry. Some of America’s most prominent companies -– from Starbucks to Campbell’s Soup –- they’re calling on Congress to act because they use renewable energy.
Sometimes when I think about Washington and Congress — and I know some of you think the same way — I don’t get it. I understand why we wouldn’t get something if we really disagree on something. And there are some big disagreements: They want to make big cuts to pay for more big tax cuts for the wealthy. I disagree with that. I think we should have a balanced approach — cut waste, but make sure that everybody is paying their fair share. (Applause.) An issue like that, maybe it can’t get settled before an election because they just have a different approach. I understand that. But this, everybody says they agree to or at least a lot of people agree to it.
So I’m going to need your help. I need you to get involved. I need you to help get this done. I need everybody here in Newton — and I mean everybody — I don’t just mean folks who work at TPI — anybody who’s watching, everybody here in Iowa, pick up the phone, send an email, send a tweet, tell Congress, let’s do the right thing. Tell Congress the story of Newton. Tell folks why it’s so important to this community. Tell them we’ve come too far to turn back now. (Applause.)
It used to be Newton was known for building washers and dryers, used to be Newton was known for Maytag. And obviously they were a big employer — thousands of people working in the area. But back in 2007 when they closed down the operations here, that was a major blow. And everybody here, if you don’t — if you weren’t affected personally by it, you were affected indirectly. Your friends, your neighbors, friends like Quinten were forced to start all over again. And he didn’t give up. You didn’t give up. You kept pushing ahead. Some of you had to retrain. Pretty soon after one industry had left, another showed up. Some of the facilities that Maytag closed were reopened. So a lot of folks who used to build washers and dryers, now they’re part of the future, building an industry that’s going to make America stronger. That’s the story of Newton. That’s the story of America.
So, yes, we’re facing tough times, but we’re getting through them. We’re getting through them together — because in this country, just like in Newton, we don’t give up. We keep moving. We keep moving forward. And if we work together with a common purpose, we will get this economy back on track — and remind everybody why America is the greatest country on Earth.
Thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. Thank you. (Applause.)
4:55 P.M. CDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on May 24, 2012
Full Text Campaign Buzz, May 23, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Time Magazine Interview — Defends Bain Record, Hits Obama on Economy: ‘He Just Doesn’t Have a Clue’ — Transcript
CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012
Mitt Romney Defends Bain Record, Hits Obama on Economy: ‘He Just Doesn’t Have a Clue’
Source: Time, 5-23-12
Peter Hapak for TIME
Mark Halperin interviews Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney lashed President Obama’s economic stewardship in an interview with TIME’s Mark Halperin on Wednesday, deflecting attacks on his years as a private equity executive and laying out how he hopes to take control of the economy as soon as he’s sworn in, should he defeat Obama in November….READ MORE
TIME Cover: “Raising Romney”
Source: TIME, 5-23-12
This week’s magazine cover features the presumptive GOP nominee and his mother, Lenore.
Source: Time, 5-23-12
In a 36-minute Wednesday Manhattan interview with Mark Halperin, Romney pushes back on President Obama’s Bain attack, predicts he can drive unemployment down to six percent by the end of his first term and says he wants Washington to sit still during the lame-duck session.
Romney contrasts his record at Bain Capital with President Obama’s record in office.
Romney explains how his business background makes him better qualified to be Commander-in-Chief.
GOP frontrunner says he will have unemployment down to six percent by the end of his first term.
Read Romney’s complete answer on Bain Capital here.
Read the candidate on the fiscal cliff here.
The Romney Interview Transcript – Bain Capital
Source: Time, 5-23-12
Peter Hapak for TIME
Halperin: The President says that your experience at Bain Capital will be central in this election. He says it does not qualify you to be a job creator as President. I know you think that working in the private sector in and of itself gives you insight into how the economy works, but what specific skills or policies did you learn at Bain that would help you create an environment where jobs would be created?
Romney: Well that’s a bit of a question like saying, what have you learned in life that would help you lead? My whole life has been learning to lead, from my parents, to my education, to the experience I had in the private sector, to helping run the Olympics, and then of course helping guide a state. Those experiences in totality have given me an understanding of how America works and how the economy works. Twenty five years in business, including business with other nations, competing with companies across the world, has given me an understanding of what it is that makes America a good place to grow and add jobs, and why jobs leave America – why businesses decide to locate here, and why they decide to locate somewhere else. What outsourcing causes – what it’s caused by, rather. I understand, for instance, how to read a balance sheet. I happen to believe that having been in the private sector for twenty five years gives me a perspective on how jobs are created – that someone who’s never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn’t understand.
Halperin: I want to ask you to be just a little bit more specific about that, because again, he said this is like the central way he’s going to run this campaign, to focus on your business career. You said you know how to read a balance sheet. There are a lot of people in America who know how to do that. What would make you qualify to be President – again, specific things you’ve learned, things you know, policies that grow out of your experience at Bain Capital that would lead toward job creation.
Romney: Well Mark, let’s be a little more specific as to the area you’d like to suggest. Trade policies? Labor policies? Energy policies? Let’s take energy, for instance. I understand that in some industries, the input cost of energy is a major factor in whether an industry is going to locate in the United States or go elsewhere. So, when at Bain Capital, we started a new steel company called Steel Dynamics in Indiana, the cost of energy was a very important factor to the success of that enterprise. When the President is making it harder to mine coal, to use coal, to take advantage of our gas resources, to make it harder to get our oil resources – all those things combined to make our cost of energy higher than it needs to be, and it drives away enterprises from this country. It sends it to places that have lower-cost energy. I understand the impact of those kinds of factors on job creation. I will have a very different policy. My policy on energy is to take advantage of coal, oil, natural gas, as well as our renewables, and nuclear – make America the largest energy producer in the world. I think we can get there, in 10 or 15 years. That will bring back manufacturing of certain high energy intensive industries. It’ll bring back jobs. It’ll create a surprising economic revitalization of this country.
Halperin: So when the President says he wants to focus a lot of the election and debate on your career at Bain Capital, do you welcome that?
Romney: Well of course, I’d like to also focus on his record. What is it that he’s done as the President of the United States over the last four years? And the American people are interested in, not so much in the history of where I was at Bain Capital, or that I have understanding of the private sector, but instead, has the President made things better for the American people? Are they better off than they were four years ago? Has he established the revitalization he promised he would bring to us? Did he hold unemployment below 8%? It’s been what, 39 months now. That hasn’t happened. He promised it would happen by virtue of his stimulus. Gasoline prices – are people happy with those? Home prices – are they happy with the home prices, the level of foreclosures? Do they think someone can do better? I think the American people want someone who understands the economy, who has a vision for getting America working again. This is a President who spends his time blaming other people for the fact that he has been unsuccessful in turning around this economy. And I think the reason you’re seeing across the country, people saying they’d like to try someone new, is because they believe this President, while he may be a nice guy, is simply not up to the task of helping guide an economy.
Halperin: But you welcome scrutiny of your business record, is that right?
Romney: Mark, what I can tell you is this. The fact is that I spent twenty five years in the private sector. And that obviously teaches you something that you don’t learn if you haven’t spent any time in the private sector. If you were to say to me, tell me what you learned from your schooling that would help you be a President, it’s like, how do I begin going through a list like that? You learn through life’s experience. The President’s experience has been exclusively in politics and as a community organizer. Both of those are fine areas of endeavor, but right now we have an economy in trouble, and someone who spent their career in the economy is more suited to help fix the economy than someone who spent his life in politics and as a community organizer.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on May 23, 2012
Full Text Obama Presidency April 17, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Urges Congress to Increase Pressure on Oil Market Manipulation
POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:
Obama Calls for Increased Oversight of Oil Markets
Source: NYT, 4-17-12
President Obama announced a plan to crack down on oil market manipulation, calling on Congress to increase federal supervision of oil markets and to provide a way for bigger penalties for those who manipulate markets….READ MORE
Cracking Down on Oil Market Manipulation
Source: WH, 4-17-12
President Barack Obama announces a plan to increase oversight and crack down on manipulation in oil markets (April 17, 2012)
Lately, President Obama has spent a lot of time discussing his all-of-the-above strategy for American energy.
The central idea is this: It’s going to take a range of initiatives, from increased drilling to scientific breakthroughs in the development of renewable fuel sources, to put the United States on solid footing when it comes to our energy future.
But one of the reasons that fuel prices can jump unpredictably has nothing at all to do with production or even consumption. There are those who work to manipulate the energy markets for their own financial gain.
And today, President Obama announced a new series of steps to strengthen oversight over those markets — while asking lawmakers to pass legislation aimed at curbing illegal behavior and holding the people who manipulate markets accountable.
At an event this morning in the Rose Garden, the President outlined the reasons for action:
We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher — only to flip the oil for a quick profit. We can’t afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions, while millions of American families get the short end of the stick. That’s not the way the market should work. And for anyone who thinks this cannot happen, just think back to how Enron traders manipulated the price of electricity to reap huge profits at everybody else’s expense.
The President’s plan would do five things:
1) Increase funding to increase the number of surveillance and enforcement staff charged with oversight of the oil futures market;
2) Allow the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to upgrade the technology used to monitor the energy markets;
3) Increase the civil and criminal penalties for those convicted of manipulating the oil futures market;
4) Provide the CFTC with additional the authority to limit disruptions in the oil market; and
5) Expand access to CFTC data so that analysts can better understand trading trends in the oil markets.
Read his full remarks here.
- President Obama Describes an All-of-the-Above Strategy for Energy
- Everything You Need to Know About President Obama’s Blueprint for American-made energy
POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES
Remarks by the President on Increasing Oversight on Manipulation in Oil Markets
11:27 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. Lately, I’ve been speaking a lot about our need for an all-of-the-above strategy for American energy — a strategy that produces more oil and gas here at home, but also produces more biofuels and fuel-efficient cars, more solar power and wind power and other sources of clean, renewable energy.
This strategy is not just the right thing to do for our long-term economic growth; it’s also the right way for us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil right now. It’s the right way for us to put people to work right now. And ultimately, it’s the right way to stop spikes in gas prices that we’ve put up [with] every single year — the same kind of increase that we’ve seen over the past couple of months.
Obviously rising gas prices means a rough ride for a lot of families. Whether you’re trying to get to school, trying to get to work, do some grocery shopping, you have to be able to fill up that gas tank. And there are families in certain parts of the country that have no choice but to drive 50 or 60 miles to get to the job. So when gas prices go up, it’s like an additional tax that comes right out of your pocket.
That’s one of the reasons we passed a payroll tax cut at the beginning of this year and made sure it extended all the way through this year, so that the average American is getting that extra $40 in every paycheck right now.
But I think everybody understands that there are no quick fixes to this problem. There are politicians who say that if we just drilled more then gas prices would come down right away. What they don’t say is that we have been drilling more. Under my administration, America is producing more oil than at any time in the last eight years. We’ve opened up new areas for exploration. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some.
But as I’ve said repeatedly, the problem is we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil and we only have 2 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. Even if we drilled every square inch of this country right now, we’d still have to rely disproportionately on other countries for their oil. That means we pay more at the pump every time there’s instability in the Middle East, or growing demand in countries like China and India.
That’s what’s happening right now. It’s those global trends that are affecting gas prices. So even as we’re tackling issues of supply and demand, even as we’re looking at the long-term in terms of how we can structurally make ourselves less reliant on foreign oil, we still need to work extra hard to protect consumers from factors that should not affect the price of a barrel of oil.
That includes doing everything we can to ensure that an irresponsible few aren’t able to hurt consumers by illegally manipulating or rigging the energy markets for their own gain. We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher — only to flip the oil for a quick profit. We can’t afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions, while millions of American families get the short end of the stick. That’s not the way the market should work. And for anyone who thinks this cannot happen, just think back to how Enron traders manipulated the price of electricity to reap huge profits at everybody else’s expense.
Now, the good news is my administration has already taken several actions to step up oversight of oil markets and close dangerous loopholes that were allowing some traders to operate in the shadows.
We closed the so-called Enron loophole that let traders evade oversight by using electronic or overseas trading platforms. In the Wall Street reform law, we said for the first time that federal regulators will make sure no single trader can buy such a large position in oil that they could easily manipulate the market on their own. So I’d point out that anybody who’s pledging to roll back Wall Street reform — Dodd-Frank — would also roll back this vital consumer protection along with it.
I’ve asked Attorney General Holder to work with Chairman Leibowitz of the Federal Trade Commission, Chairman Gensler of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and other enforcement agencies to make sure that acts of manipulation, fraud or other illegal activity are not behind increases in the price that consumers pay at the pump.
So today, we’re announcing new steps to strengthen oversight of energy markets. Things that we can do administratively, we are doing. And I call on Congress to pass a package of measures to crack down on illegal activity and hold accountable those who manipulate the market for private gain at the expense of millions of working families. And be specific.
First, Congress should provide immediate funding to put more cops on the beat to monitor activity in energy markets. This funding would also upgrade technology so that our surveillance and enforcement officers aren’t hamstrung by older and less sophisticated tools than the ones that traders are using. We should strengthen protections for American consumers, not gut them. And these markets have expanded significantly.
Chairman Gensler actually had a good analogy. He said, imagine if the NFL quadrupled the number of teams but didn’t increase the number of refs. You’d end up having havoc on the field, and it would diminish the game. It wouldn’t be fair. That’s part of what’s going on in a lot of these markets. So we have to properly resource enforcement.
Second, Congress should increase the civil and criminal penalties for illegal energy market manipulation and other illegal activities. So my plan would toughen key financial penalties tenfold, and impose these penalties not just per violation, but for every day a violation occurs.
Third, Congress should give the agency responsible for overseeing oil markets new authority to protect against volatility and excess speculation by making sure that traders can post appropriate margins, which simply means that they actually have the money to make good on their trades.
Congress should do all of this right away. A few weeks ago, Congress had a chance to stand up for families already paying an extra premium at the pump; congressional Republicans voted to keep spending billions of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars on more unnecessary subsidies for big oil companies. So here’s a chance to make amends, a chance to actually do something that will protect consumers by increasing oversight of energy markets. That should be something that everybody, no matter their party, should agree with. And I hope Americans will ask their members of Congress to step up.
In the meantime, my administration will take new executive actions to better analyze and investigate trading activities in energy markets and more quickly implement the tough consumer protections under Wall Street reform.
Let me close by saying none of these steps by themselves will bring gas prices down overnight. But it will prevent market manipulation and make sure we’re looking out for American consumers. And in the meantime we’re going to keep pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy for American energy to break the cycle of price spikes year after year. We are going to keep producing more biofuels; we’re going to keep producing more fuel-efficient cars; we are going to keep tapping into every source of American-made energy.
And these steps have already helped put America on a path to greater energy independence. Our foreign — our dependence on foreign oil has actually decreased each year I’ve been in office — even as the economy has grown. America now imports less than half of the oil we use for the first time in more than a decade. So we are less vulnerable than we were, but we’re still too vulnerable.
We’ve got to continue the hard, sustained work on this issue. And as long as I’m President we’re going to keep placing our bets on America’s future — America’s workers, America’s technology, America’s ingenuity, and American-made energy. That’s how we’re going to solve this problem once and for all.
Thank you very much, everybody.
11:35 A.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on April 17, 2012
Full Text Obama Presidency March 29, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Calls on Congress to End Oil and Gas Subsidies
POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:
POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES
Remarks by the President on Oil and Gas Subsidies
11:00 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Everybody, please have a seat. Sorry we’re running just a little bit behind, but I figured it’s a great day to enjoy the Rose Garden.
Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make: They can stand with the big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.
Right now, the biggest oil companies are raking in record profits –- profits that go up every time folks pull up into a gas station. But on top of these record profits, oil companies are also getting billions a year — billions a year in taxpayer subsidies -– a subsidy that they’ve enjoyed year after year for the last century.
Think about that. It’s like hitting the American people twice. You’re already paying a premium at the pump right now. And on top of that, Congress, up until this point, has thought it was a good idea to send billions of dollars more in tax dollars to the oil industry.
It’s not as if these companies can’t stand on their own. Last year, the three biggest U.S. oil companies took home more than $80 billion in profits. Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour. And when the price of oil goes up, prices at the pump go up, and so do these companies’ profits. In fact, one analysis shows that every time gas goes up by a penny, these companies usually pocket another $200 million in quarterly profits. Meanwhile, these companies pay a lower tax rate than most other companies on their investments, partly because we’re giving them billions in tax giveaways every year.
Now, I want to make clear, we all know that drilling for oil has to be a key part of our overall energy strategy. We want U.S. oil companies to be doing well. We want them to succeed. That’s why under my administration, we’ve opened up millions of acres of federal lands and waters to oil and gas production. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some. And just yesterday, we announced the next step for potential new oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic.
So the fact is, we’re producing more oil right now than we have in eight years, and we’re importing less of it as well. For two years in a row, America has bought less oil from other countries than we produce here at home -– for the first time in over a decade.
So American oil is booming. The oil industry is doing just fine. With record profits and rising production, I’m not worried about the big oil companies. With high oil prices around the world, they’ve got more than enough incentive to produce even more oil. That’s why I think it’s time they got by without more help from taxpayers who are already having a tough enough time paying the bills and filling up their gas tank. And I think it’s curious that some folks in Congress, who are the first to belittle investments in new sources of energy, are the ones that are fighting the hardest to maintain these giveaways for the oil companies.
Instead of taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s never been more profitable, we should be using that money to double-down on investments in clean energy technologies that have never been more promising — investments in wind power and solar power and biofuels; investments in fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and energy-efficient homes and buildings. That’s the future. That’s the only way we’re going to break this cycle of high gas prices that happen year after year after year. As the economy is growing, the only time you start seeing lower gas prices is when the economy is doing badly. That’s not the kind of pattern that we want to be in. We want the economy doing well, and people to be able to afford their energy costs.
And keep in mind, we can’t just drill our way out of this problem. As I said, oil production here in the United States is doing very well, and it’s been doing well even as gas prices are going up. Well, the reason is because we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil but we only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves. And that means we could drill every drop of American oil tomorrow but we’d still have to buy oil from other countries to make up the difference. We’d still have to depend on other countries to meet our energy needs. And because it’s a world market, the fact that we’re doing more here in the United States doesn’t necessarily help us because even U.S. oil companies they’re selling that oil on a worldwide market. They’re not keeping it just for us. And that means that if there’s rising demand around the world then the prices are going to up.
That’s not the future that I want for America. I don’t want folks like these back here and the folks in front of me to have to pay more at the pump every time that there’s some unrest in the Middle East and oil speculators get nervous about whether there’s going to be enough supply. I don’t want our kids to be held hostage to events on the other side of the world.
I want us to control our own destiny. I want us to forge our own future. And that’s why, as long as I’m President, America is going to pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy, which means we will continue developing our oil and gas resources in a robust and responsible way. But it also means that we’re going to keep developing more advanced homegrown biofuels, the kinds that are already powering truck fleets across America.
We’re going to keep investing in clean energy like the wind power and solar power that’s already lighting thousands of homes and creating thousands of jobs. We’re going to keep manufacturing more cars and trucks to get more miles to the gallon so that you can fill up once every two weeks instead of every week. We’re going to keep building more homes and businesses that waste less energy so that you’re in charge of your own energy bills.
We’re going to do all of this by harnessing our most inexhaustible resource: American ingenuity and American imagination. That’s what we need to keep going. That’s what’s at stake right now. That’s the choice that we face. And that’s the choice that’s facing Congress today. They can either vote to spend billions of dollars more in oil subsidies that keep us trapped in the past, or they can vote to end these taxpayer subsidies that aren’t needed to boost oil production so that we can invest in the future. It’s that simple.
And as long as I’m President, I’m betting on the future. And as the people I’ve talked to around the country, including the people who are behind me here today, they put their faith in the future as well. That’s what we do as Americans. That’s who we are. We innovate. We discover. We seek new solutions to some of our biggest challenges. And, ultimately, because we stick with it, we succeed. And I believe that we’re going to do that again. Today, the American people are going to be watching Congress to see if they have that same faith.
Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)
11:08 A.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 29, 2012
Full Text Obama Presidency March 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on American Made Energy at Ohio State University
POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS
& THE 112TH CONGRESS:
President Obama and the Buckeye Bullet
President Barack Obama looks at the Buckeye Bullet, a high speed electric land speed race car, during a tour of the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, March 22, 2012. An earlier version of the Buckeye Bullet holds the U.S. electric land speed record at 314.958 mph. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The Ohio State University in Columbus was President Obama’s final stop on this week’s energy tour. It’s home to the Center for Automotive Research, a hotbed of innovation in the fields of energy production and advanced vehicles.
There, President Obama had a chance to see the Buckeye Bullet — an electric car that has already traveled at speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour. Engineers at the school told him that they’re now aiming to design the vehicle so that it’s capable of going more than 400 miles per hour.
Today, Buckeye Bullet is already the fastest electric car in the world, and at OSU, they’re aiming to make it even faster. President Obama said that kind of ingenuity is “essential to American leadership.”
He told the Columbus crowd:
[As] long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments. I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments. I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America. By American workers. That’s the future we want.
As for the Buckeye Bullet, the President also promised that his daughter Malia, who will turn16 in a couple of years, will never drive 300 miles per hour, despite the vehicle’s impressive success.
- Read about President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy.
- The President discusses oil and gas infrastructure in Oklahoma
- The President discusses domestic energy production in New Mexico
- The President visits the largest solar power plant in the United States.
Remarks by the President on American-Made Energy
The Ohio State University
4:27 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Buckeyes! (Applause.) Yes. It is good to be back at The Ohio State University. (Applause.) I want to thank –
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.) I am thrilled to be here. I want to thank a couple of people. First of all, the outstanding Mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman, is here. (Applause.) I want to thank OSU Provost Joe Alutto. (Applause.)
And I just got this extraordinary tour from Giorgio Rizzoni, who’s the director of the Center for Automotive Research. So give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)
Now, let’s face it, a presidential visit isn’t even close to being the biggest thing this weekend on campus. (Laughter.) And despite what Vijay said, I did have the Buckeyes heading to the Final Four. (Applause.) I’m just saying. I think Selinger is going to have a big game tonight. (Applause.) And I promise you I didn’t do it because I knew I was coming here — because I am cold-blooded when it comes to filling out my brackets. (Laughter.) So I genuinely think you guys are looking good.
And by the way, I just read somewhere that one in every four teams in the Sweet 16 is from Ohio. (Applause.) You’ve got Ohio State, Ohio University, Xavier — (applause) — Xavier is in — Cincinnati.
AUDIENCE: Booo –
THE PRESIDENT: I’m not going to get in the middle of this. (Laughter.) I do want to just say no state has ever done this before. So it’s a testimony to Ohio basketball. (Applause.)
And I want to thank Vijay for the outstanding introduction — very much appreciate that.
Now, this is our last stop on a trip where we’ve been talking about an all-of-the-above energy strategy for America — a strategy where we produce more oil, produce more gas, but also produce more American biofuels and more fuel-efficient cars, more solar power, more wind power, more power from the oceans, more clean and renewable energy. (Applause.) More clean and renewable energy.
You know what I’m talking about here, because this school is a national leader in developing new sources of energy and advanced vehicles that use a lot less energy.
I just had a chance to take a tour of the Center for Automotive Research. Now, I admit the best part of it was seeing the Buckeye Bullet, which has gone over 300 miles an hour and is now shooting for 400 miles an hour. (Applause.) And I asked the guys who were helping to design this whether mom was going to let them actually test-drive this thing, and the answer was no. (Laughter.) Only professional drivers are permitted.
But for anybody who’s not familiar with this, the Buckeye Bullet is the fastest electric car in the world. (Applause.) The fastest in the world. I don’t know who’s going to need to go that fast. (Laughter.) But it is a testament to the ingenuity here at Ohio State and what is essential to American leadership when it comes to energy — our brain power.
I will say, though, when Malia gets her license in a few years, she will not be allowed to go 300 miles an hour. (Laughter.)
Now, one of the reasons that I’ve been talking so much about fuel-efficient cars and new sources of energy is obviously because we’re seeing another spike in gas prices right now. And that’s tough on folks. I remember when I was a student, filling up was always tough. And gas prices are putting pressure not just on students but on a lot of families all across Ohio, all across the country. Whether you’re trying to get to school, go to work, go grocery shopping, dropping off your kids, you’ve got to be able to fill up that gas tank. Right now, for most people you don’t have a choice.
So when prices spike, that tax hike feels like a — or that gas spike feels like a tax hike coming right out of your pocket. That’s part of the reason that we passed a payroll tax cut at the beginning of this year –- so that the average American would get an extra $40 in every paycheck to help offset the price of gas. (Applause.) So that’s going to offer some relief.
But the bigger question is how do we make sure that these spikes in gas prices don’t keep on happening — because we’ve seen this movie before. This happens just about every year. This happened this time last year. Gas prices were even higher in the spring and summer of 2008. It has been going on for years, for decades.
And every time prices start to go up — especially during an election year — politicians, they start dusting off their 3-point plan for $2.00 gas. (Laughter.) Although this year, they decided it was going to be $2.50. (Laughter.) This year they decided it was going to be $2.50. Now, I don’t know where they pick that number, $2.50. Because it could have been $2.40, I guess. They could have said $2.10. They could have said 50 cents a gallon. But they all make the same promise. They head down to the gas station and they make sure a few cameras are following them, and then they tell you how we’re going to have cheap gas forever if you just vote for them. And it has been the same script for 30 years — the same thing. It has been like a bad rerun.
And when you ask them, what specifically is your — (audience interruption.)
Sir, I’m here to speak to these folks. You can hold your own rally. (Applause.) You’re being rude. Sir, we’re trying to talk to these people. (Applause.) I’ll be happy to read your book — if you want to give me your book, I’ll be happy to read it. But don’t interrupt my conversation with these folks, all right? (Applause.) Show me some courtesy. (Applause.) Show me some courtesy. I’ll be happy to take your book. But don’t interrupt everybody else. All right? Okay.
Now, where was I? (Laughter.) Go ahead and get that book from him, guys. He wants to give me a book. Please feel free to grab it. You’re touting this book — make sure that you’ve given it to us.
All right, now that we’ve gotten that settled. (Laughter.) Now, the question is, why is it that every year we hear the same story about how we’re going to have $2 gas, or $1.50 gas, or whatever price they come up with, if we would just drill for more oil? That’s the solution that you always here. Prices will immediately come down and all our problems will go away — like magic.
There are two problems with that. First of all, we have been drilling. We’re drilling right now. Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years — at any time. (Applause.) That’s a fact. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of acres of land in 23 different states for oil and gas exploration. That’s a fact. (Applause.) Offshore, I’ve directed my administration to open up more than 75 percent of potential oil resources. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.
I just visited New Mexico. Their big problem is they don’t have enough truck drivers to transport all the oil that they are producing. We’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the entire Earth and then some. I just visited one of those new pipelines in Oklahoma, and today I directed my administration to make sure that we cut the red tape in terms of reducing some of these bottlenecks.
So the problem is not that we’re not drilling, or that we’re not producing more oil. We are producing more oil than any time in the last eight years. That’s not the problem. There are probably a few spots where we’re not drilling, it’s true. I’m not drilling in the South Lawn. (Laughter.) We’re not drilling next to the Washington Monument. We’re not drilling in Ohio Stadium.
THE PRESIDENT: So there are some spots out there that we are not drilling. But we’re doing so in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people, and protects America’s incredible bounty that God gave us — our resources. (Applause.)
So that’s point number one. But the second issue, which, because we got a lot of young people, you guys understand, is that a strategy that relies only on drilling defies the fact that America uses 20 percent of the world’s oil, but we only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves. So we use 20 percent; we have 2 percent. Who’s a math major here? (Laughter.) All right. If I’m not mistaken, that leaves us about 18 percent short. (Laughter.)
We can’t simply drill our way out of the problem. Even if we drilled every square inch of this country right now, we’re going to be relying on other countries for oil. (Applause.) Does anybody here think that’s a good strategy?
THE PRESIDENT: Of course, it isn’t. We shouldn’t have to pay more at the pump every time there’s instability in the Middle East, which is the main reason gas prices are going up right now. (Applause.) We should not be held hostage to events on the other side of the world. This is America. We control our own destiny. We forge our own future. And I will not accept an energy strategy that traps us in the past. (Applause.) We’re not going to do it.
So as long as I’m President, America is going to be pursuing an all-of-the-above energy strategy. Yes, we’ll develop as much oil and gas as we can, in a safe way, but we’re also going to develop wind power, and solar power, and advanced biofuels. (Applause.) We can build the next-generation nuclear reactors that are smaller and safer and cleaner and cheaper, but we’ve got to also look at renewable energy as the key to our future. And we’ve got to build cars and trucks that get more miles to the gallon. (Applause.) We’ve got to build homes and businesses that waste less energy, and put consumers in control of their energy bills.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: And we’ll do it by harnessing the same type of American ingenuity and imagination that’s on display right here at Ohio State. (Applause.) Right here at Ohio State.
So already we’ve made progress. After decades of inaction, we raised fuel-economy standards, so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what we get today. (Applause.) That means you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week. (Applause.) You like that?
THE PRESIDENT: That will save the average family about $8,000 at the pump over the life of a car, which is real money. To use even less oil, we’re going to have to keep investing in clean, renewable, homegrown biofuels. And already we’re using these biofuels to power everything from city buses to UPS trucks, even to Navy ships. And the more we rely on these homegrown fuels, the less oil we buy from other countries and the more jobs we create right here in America. (Applause.)
We also need to keep investing in clean energy like wind power and solar power. I just visited the biggest American solar plant of its kind, in Boulder City, Nevada. It’s powering thousands of homes. It put hundreds of local people at work. There are thousands of companies like that all across America. And today, thousands of Americans have jobs because of public investments that have nearly doubled the use of clean energy in this country.
And as long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments. I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments. I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America. (Applause.) By American workers. That’s the future we want.
So all these steps, all these steps have put us on a path of greater energy independence. Here’s a statistic I want everybody to remember. Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year. (Applause.) In 2010, our oil dependence was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years. (Applause.) Even as the economy was growing, we’ve made progress in reducing the amount of oil that we have to import because we’re being smarter; we’re doing things better.
But now we’ve got a choice. We can keep moving in that direction — we can keep developing new energy and new technology that uses less oil — or we can listen to these folks who actually believe that the only thing we can do is drill our way out of this problem. In fact, they make fun of clean energy. They call the jobs produced by them “phony” jobs. They make jokes about them at their rallies.
Lately, we’ve heard a lot of politicians, a lot of folks who are running for a certain office –- (laughter) — they shall go unnamed — (laughter) — they dismiss wind power. They dismiss solar power. They make jokes about biofuels. I guess they like gas-guzzlers because they’re against raising fuel standards. Imagine if these guys had been around when Columbus set sail. They’d be charter members of the Flat Earth Society. (Laughter and applause.) They don’t ask what we can do; they explain what we can’t do, and why we can’t do it.
And the point is there will always be cynics and naysayers who just want to keep on doing the same things the same way that we’ve always done them.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Then we wouldn’t have a black President, but we do!
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s true. (Applause.)
They want to double down on the same ideas that got us exactly into this mess that we’ve been in and we’ve been digging our way out of. That’s not who we are as Americans.
We’ve always succeeded because we refused to stand still. We put faith in the future. We are inventors. We are builders. We’re makers of things. We’re Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and Steve Jobs. By the way, the Wright Brothers were from Ohio. (Applause.) Just want to point that out. But that’s who we are. That’s who we need to be right now. We can’t be afraid of the future. (Applause.)
The flat Earth crowd, they’ve got a different view. They would rather give $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies this year than to invest in clean energy. Four billion dollars to an industry that’s making record profits because of what you’re paying at the gas station. Does anybody think that they need help, that they don’t have enough incentive to drill for oil? Does anybody think that’s a wise use of your tax dollars?
THE PRESIDENT: We have been subsidizing oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. (Applause.) It is time to stop a taxpayer giveaway to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and start making investments in a clean energy industry that has never been more promising.
And when Congress votes on this, you guys should put some pressure on to tell them, do the right thing. Bet on our future, not on our past. (Applause.) Put them on record: They can either stand with the oil industry, or they can stand with the American people. They can place their bets on the energy of the past, or place their bets on America’s future — on American workers, American technology, American ingenuity, American-made energy.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Our children. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Our children. (Applause.) That’s the choice we face. That’s what’s at stake right now.
And, Ohio, we know the direction that we’ve got to go in. Ending these oil subsidies won’t bring gas prices down tomorrow. Even if we drilled every inch of America, that won’t bring gas prices down tomorrow. But if we’re tired of watching gas prices spike every single year, if we’re tired of being caught in this position, knowing that China and India are growing — China had 10 million cars purchased in 2010 alone. You’ve got a billion people, two billion people out there, who are interested in buying cars — which means that unless we develop alternatives, oil prices are going to keep on going up.
I don’t want folks in the Middle East taking your money out of your pocket because we did not develop the kind of strategies that will sustain our future and our independence. (Applause.)
So I need all of you guys to make your voices heard. Get on the phone. Write and email. Send a tweet. Let your members of Congress know where you stand. Tell them to do the right thing. Tell them that we can win this fight. Tell them: Yes, we can. (Applause.) We can build an economy that lasts. We can make this another American Century. We can remind the entire world just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
4:46 P.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 22, 2012